Alan Alda Biography

Alan Alda is an award winning American actor, director, screenwriter and author. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts related to his life.

Quick Facts

Birthday: January 28, 1936

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Alan Alda Actors

Age: 84 Years, 84 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Aquarius

Born in: NYC, New York, U.S

Famous as: Actor

Height: 6'2" (188 cm), 6'2" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Arlene Alda (m. 1957)

father: Robert Alda

mother: Joan Browne

children: Beatrice Alda, Elizabeth Alda

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Archbishop Stepinac High School, Fordham University

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Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo, better known as Alan Alda, is an award winning American actor, director, screenwriter and author. In his long career of 58 years, he has acted in numerous film, television and stage productions, writing and directing many of those, and has penned couple of autobiographical books. However, he is most familiar as Hawkeye Pierce from the long-running television series 'M*A*S*H'. He has won six 'Emmy Awards', seven 'People's Choice Awards', six 'Golden Globe Awards', and three 'Directors Guild of America' awards so far. He has also received two 'Tony Award' nominations and one 'Academy Award' nomination. He hosted the television show, 'Scientific American Frontiers', for fourteen years. He has appeared in a number of TV series, game shows, and feature films, including a couple of Woody Allen movies. His most notable movies include 'Paper Lion', 'Same Time, Next Year', 'The Four Seasons', 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' and 'The Aviator'. He was a part of the political drama series, 'The West Wing'. He is also a political activist, as his political beliefs often show up in his works. He is a strong supporter of women's rights and is also involved in charitable works.

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  • Alan Alda was born on January 28, 1936, in the Bronx, New York City, to Robert and Joan Alda. His father was an actor, singer and dancer, while his mother was a former beauty-pageant winner. He has a half-brother, Antony Alda, who is also an actor.
  • As a child, Alan travelled around the US with his father during his theatrical performances. He developed polio at the age of seven and had to go through months of painful treatment to fight the disease. His mother nursed him tirelessly during this time.
  • Unfortunately, when he was still young, his mother showed symptoms of mental illness, which was not easily understood in those days, and was something people were ashamed of. As such, she was not treated properly, and eventually the illness became so severe that she once tried to stab his father, who later divorced her.
  • He attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York. Later, he enrolled in Fordham College in the Bronx and completed his graduation in English in 1956. During this time, he participated in the ROTC officer training program and later went on a sixth-month tour of duty as a gunnery officer in Korea.
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  • During his junior year at college, Alan Alda went on to study abroad in Europe and acted in a play in Rome. He then performed on television in Amsterdam, alongside his father. His Broadway debut came in 1959, when he appeared as 'Telephone Man' in the stage play, 'Only in America'.
  • He made guest appearances in a few television series during his stint at Broadway. When the stage play, 'Purlie Victorious', in which he played Charlie Cotchipee, was made into a film in 1963, he reprised his role and debuted on the big screen.
  • In 1964, he landed the major role of Felix the "Owl" in the stage version of 'The Owl and The Pussycat'. In 1966, he appeared in the Broadway musical 'The Apple Tree' for which he received a 'Tony Award' nomination for 'Best Actor'.
  • From 1965 to 1968, he participated in the television game show 'The Match Game'. In 1968, he portrayed George Plimpton in the film 'Paper Lion'. The next year, he appeared in 'The Extraordinary Seaman', and in 1971, he acted in 'The Mephisto Waltz'.
  • From 1972 to 1983, he played the protagonist Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce in the television series 'M*A*S*H', a situational comedy set on the backdrop of the Korean War. Alda, who was initially reluctant to do lighthearted comedy on war, went on to star in 251 episodes of the show, working as a writer in 19 and a director in 32 episodes.
  • Next, he shifted his focus to the big screen and went on to appear in a number of movies like 'Same Time, Next Year' (1978), 'The Four Seasons' (1981), 'Crimes and Misdemeanors' (1989). He received Golden Globe nominations for the first two, while the last one earned him a couple 'Best Supporting Actor' awards.
  • From 1993 to 2005, he served as the humble and humorous host of the television program, 'Scientific American Frontiers'. It focused on informing the public about new technological advances in science and medicine.
  • He appeared in at least one movie almost every year, acting in films such as 'Whispers in the Dark' (1992), 'Flirting with Disaster' (1996) and 'What Women Want' (2000). He also continued to make guest appearances on television, and played a recurring role in the political drama series 'The West Wing' in 2004-06.
  • In 2004, he was cast in Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-winning film 'The Aviator', in which he acted alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. Most recently, he acted in the Steven Spielberg historical drama 'Bridge of Spies' (2015).
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Major Works
  • Alan Alda's portrayal of the sarcastic but good-hearted Army surgeon, Hawkeye, is by far his most popular role on-screen. The series went on to become one of the highest-rated shows in U.S. television history, with the final episode, 'Goodbye, Farewell and Amen', being the single most-watched episode of any American broadcast network television series.
  • Even though he played a short role in the movie 'The Aviator', he showed his mettle as the bullying conservative Maine Senator, Owen Brewster, in the film. He went on to receive his first 'Academy Award' nomination for the role.
Awards & Achievements
  • Alan Alda received a total of 21 Emmy nominations for his contributions to the series 'M*A*S*H' as an actor, writer and director, winning five of them. He is the first person to receive awards in three different categories in a television series. He also received six 'Golden Globe Awards' for his performance on the show.
  • He won another Emmy Award in 2006 for his portrayal of Republican Senator and Presidential candidate, Arnold Vinick, in 'The West Wing'. He received the award in the category 'Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series'.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Alan Alda met his wife Arlene Weiss in 1956, when he was still attending Fordham College, at a party thrown by a mutual friend. They married one year after his graduation and have three daughters, Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice.
  • Despite the fact that both of his parents were devout Catholics, he would eventually become a non-believer. Even though he is often described as an atheist or an agnostic, he doesn't like those labels.
  • The title of Alan Alda's first memoir, 'Never Have Your Dog Stuffed', originated from an experience he had in his childhood. After his dog Rhapsody died, he was so inconsolable that his father offered to have the pet stuffed. However, the result was horrifying as the taxidermist got its expression wrong.
  • He had a near death experience during the filming of his show 'Scientific American Frontiers' in La Serena, Chile. After learning that he had intestinal obstruction, he surprised the doctor with his knowledge of the medical procedure of end-to-end anastomosis.

Alan Alda Movies

1. Marriage Story (2018)


2. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

  (Comedy, Drama)

3. Same Time, Next Year (1978)

  (Romance, Comedy, Drama)

4. The Four Seasons (1981)

  (Drama, Comedy)

5. Bridge of Spies (2015)

  (History, Drama, Thriller)

6. The Aviator (2004)

  (History, Biography, Drama)

7. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

  (Comedy, Mystery)

8. Gone Are the Days! (1963)

  (Drama, Comedy)


Golden Globe Awards
1983 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1982 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1981 Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1980 Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1976 Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
1975 Best TV Actor - Comedy or Musical M*A*S*H (1972)
Primetime Emmy Awards
2006 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series The West Wing (1999)
1982 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1979 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1977 Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1974 Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series M*A*S*H (1972)
1974 Actor of the Year - Series M*A*S*H (1972)
People's Choice Awards
1982 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1981 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer Winner
1981 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1980 Favorite All-Around Male Entertainer Winner
1980 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1979 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner
1975 Favorite Male TV Performer Winner

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