Alan Alda has been delighting film aficionados and TV viewers for decades, and now it’s time for the actor to delight in celebrating a very special milestone.
Happy Birthday, Alan Alda!
And that’s because he was born on January 28, 1936, in The Bronx, New York, which means that this acting legend is turning 85 years old today! Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo, AKA Alan Alda, made his stage debut at the age of six months during a burlesque show – specifically a schoolroom set sketch – which starred his father, actor and singer Robert Alda (born Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D’Abruzzo).
During his pre-teen years, Alda worked alongside his father at the famed GI establishment, The Hollywood Canteen. He appeared in a summer stock production of Charley’s Aunt in Barnesville, Pennsylvania, spent his post-high school days in Europe with his father where they acted on stage in Rome and on television in Amsterdam, then honed his skills at the Cleveland Playhouse and The Compass.
Alda then joined the newly formed The Second City company which included amongst its members Alan Arkin, Ed Asner, and Valerie Harper. Subsequently, he made his New York stage debut as an understudy in The Hot Corner (1956), then won critical acclaim for his performance as Charlie Cotchipee in the Broadway production of Purlie Victorious (1961-1962).
He appeared in his first feature film in 1963, Gone Are the Days, starred in several episodes of the political satire That Was the Week that Was (1964), and several more plays including The Owl and the Pussycat (1964-1965). In addition, he starred in other big-screen pictures including Paper Lion (1968), Jenny (1969), and The Mephisto Waltz (1971).
In 1972, after much debate – and with six hours to spare before filming began on the pilot episode – Alda agreed to join the cast of M*A*S*H. The series, based on the hit film of the same name, featured Alda in the role of Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, a smart-mouthed, amorous, imbiber who nonetheless possessed a gift for healing.
Over the course of M*A*S*H’s 11-season run, Alda would contribute 19 scripts and helm 32 episodes as a director – including the feature-length series finale, Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen. For his efforts, Alda would win six Primetime Emmy Awards (for acting, writing, and directing) and six Golden Globe Awards (for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy).
Alda’s other acting credits include roles in several Woody Allen films – Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989), Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993), and Everyone Says I Love You (1996) – as well as Canadian Bacon (1995), Flirting With Disaster (1996), What Women Want (2000), and The Aviator (2004). He had recurring roles on a number of TV series including ER and The West Wing.
Alda also directed and/or wrote several pictures including The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979), The Four Seasons (1981), A New Life (1986), and Betsy’s Wedding (1990).
For 13 years (1993-2005), Alda hosted the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers. As a result of his experience with that program, coupled with his love of cosmology, Alda founded The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science – a company whose goal is to train scientists and health professionals how to communicate more effectively with those outside their own discipline.
Alda has been married to Arlene Weiss since March 15, 1957. The two had met a year previous at a mutual friend’s dinner party and had bonded over their lack of hesitation to eat a rum cake that had been dropped on the kitchen floor. Together, the couple has three daughters: Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice, as well as eight grandchildren.
On July 31, 2018, Alda revealed that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years prior.
Entertainment Hub would like to wish Alan Alda a very happy birthday, and you can too by clicking on the Twitter link below.