Alan Alda


Alan Alda

Infobox actor


caption = Alda at the launch of the World Science Festival, April 2008.
imagesize = 180px
birthname = nowrap|Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo
birthdate = birth date and age|1936|1|28
birthplace = Bronx, New York, USA
spouse = Arlene Alda (1957–present)
occupation = Actor, author, activist, director, screenwriter
yearsactive = 1958–present
emmyawards = Actor of the Year, Series 1974 "M*A*S*H" Outstanding Lead Actor, Comedy Series 1974, 1982 "M*A*S*H" Outstanding Supporting Actor,
Drama Series
2006 "The West Wing" Outstanding Directing, Comedy Series 1977 "M*A*S*H" Outstanding Writing, Comedy Series 1979 "M*A*S*H"
goldenglobeawards= 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983 "M*A*S*H"

Alan Alda (born January 28, 1936) is an American actor. He is well known for his role as "Hawkeye Pierce" in the television series "M*A*S*H". During the 1970s and '80s, he was viewed as the archetypal sympathetic male, though in recent years, he has appeared in roles that counter that image.

Biography

Family and early life

Alda was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in New York City. His father, Robert Alda, born as Alphonso Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo, was an actor and singer, and his mother, Joan Brown, was crowned Miss New York in a beauty pageant. Alda is of Italian and Irish descent.cite news|last=Berk|first=Philip|coauthors=|title=A question of roots|pages=|publisher=The Jerusalem Post|date=1998-12-11|url=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-19081701.html|accessdate=2007-12-10] His adopted surname, "Alda," is a combination of "AL"phonso and "D'A"bruzzo.

Alda contracted polio at the age of seven, during an epidemic. His parents administered a painful treatment, developed by Sister Elizabeth Kenny, in which hot woolen blankets are applied to the limbs, followed by stretching the muscles by massage. [cite news | first=Tavis | last=Smiley | title=Alan Alda | url=http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200412/20041202_alda.html | publisher=PBS | date=2004-12-02 | accessdate=2007-05-02] This treatment allowed Alda to recover much movement.

He attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York and later received his bachelor's degree from Fordham College of Fordham University in the Bronx in 1956, where he was a student staff member of its FM radio station, WFUV. During his junior year, he studied in Europe, where he acted in a play in Rome and performed with his father on television in Amsterdam. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served a six-month tour of duty as a gunnery officer in Korea following the Korean War. A year after graduation, he married Arlene Weiss, with whom he has three daughters, Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice; and seven grandchildren, two of which attended the 2005 Academy Awards (Emilia Alda and Scott Coffey). Arlene Alda is an accomplished photographer, author, and musician.

Alda was a member of the Compass Players in the late 1950s, and has been an activist for feminism for many years.

Alda has been a longtime resident of Leonia, New Jersey. [Kolbert, Elizabeth. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B01E1D81438F93BA25756C0A962958260 "AT LUNCH WITH: Alan Alda; Hawkeye Turns Mean, Sensitively"] , "The New York Times", May 18, 1994. Accessed November 24, 2007. "Ever since "M*A*S*H," Mr. Alda has split his time between the East Coast, where he has houses in the Hamptons and Leonia, N.J., and the West, where he owns a house in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles."]

On the October 5, 2007 episode of the British talk show "Loose Women", Alan said he would still be working at a theater in St. Louis if he had not landed the role on "M*A*S*H".

Career

Early acting

Alda began his career in the 1950s as a member of the Compass Players comedy revue. In 1966, he starred in the musical "The Apple Tree" on Broadway; he was nominated for the Tony award as Best Actor in a Musical for that role.

Alda made his Hollywood acting debut as a supporting player in "Gone are the Days!"—a 1963 film version of the highly successful Broadway play "Purlie Victorious", which co-starred veteran actors Ruby Dee and her husband, the late Ossie Davis. Other film roles would follow, such as his portrayal of author, humorist, and actor George Plimpton in the film "Paper Lion" (1968) as well as "The Extraordinary Seaman" (1969) and "The Mephisto Waltz" (1971).

"M*A*S*H" Series (1972-1983)

In early 1972 Alda auditioned for and was selected to play the role of "Hawkeye Pierce" in the TV adaptation of the 1970 film "M*A*S*H". He was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards, and won five. He took part in writing 13 episodes, and directed 32. When he won his first Emmy Award for writing, he was so happy that he performed a cartwheel before running up to the stage to accept the award. He was also the first person to win Emmy Awards for acting, writing and directing for the same series. Richard Hooker, who wrote the novel on which "M*A*S*H" was based, did not like Alan Alda's portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce (Hooker, a Republican, had based Hawkeye on himself, whereas Alda took the character in a more left-wing direction). Alda also directed the show's 1983 2½ hour series finale "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" which remains the single most-watched episode of a TV series. Alda is the only series regular to appear in all 251 episodes.

As more and more of the original series writers left the series, Alda gained more control and by the final seasons he had become project and creative consultant. Under his watch, "M*A*S*H" more openly addressed political issues. As a result, the 11 years of "M*A*S*H" are generally split into two eras: The Larry Gelbart/Gene Reynolds "comedy" years (1972-1977), and the Alan Alda "dramatic" years (also jokingly known as "The Alan Alda Show") (1977-1983). During this time, Alda frequently appeared as a panelist on the 1968 revival of "What's My Line?". He also appeared as a panelist on "I've Got a Secret" during its 1972 syndication revival.

After "M*A*S*H"

Alda's prominence in the enormously successful "M*A*S*H" gave him a platform to speak out on political topics, and he has been a strong and vocal supporter of women's rights. In 1976, the "Boston Globe" dubbed him "the quintessential Honorary Woman: a feminist icon" for his activism on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment. As a liberal activist he has been a target for some political and social conservatives.

Alan Alda has also played Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman in the play "QED", which has only one other character. Although Peter Parnell wrote the play, Alda both produced and inspired it. Alda has also appeared frequently in the films of Woody Allen, and he has been a guest star five times on "ER", playing Dr. Kerry Weaver's mentor, Gabriel Lawrence. During the later episodes, it was revealed that Dr. Lawrence was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Alda also had a co-starring role as Dr. Robert Gallo in the 1993 TV movie "And the Band Played On".

During "M*A*S*H"'s run and continuing through the 1980s, Alda embarked on a successful career as a writer and director, with the ensemble dramedy "The Four Seasons" being perhaps his most notable hit. "Betsy's Wedding" (1990) is his last directing credit to date. After "M*A*S*H" Alda took on a series of roles that either parodied or directly contradicted his "nice guy" image. His role as a pompous celebrity comedian in "Crimes and Misdemeanors" was widely seen as a self-parody, although Alda denied this.

Later roles

In 1995 he starred as the President in Michael Moore's political satire/comedy film "Canadian Bacon". Around this time, rumours circulated that Alda was considering running for the United States Senate in New Jersey, but he himself has denied this. In 1996, Alda played Henry Ford in "Camping With Henry and Tom", based on the book by Mark St. Germain. Beginning in 2004, Alda was a regular cast member on the NBC program "The West Wing", portraying Republican U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Arnold Vinick, until the show's conclusion in May 2006. He made his premiere in the sixth season's eighth episode, "In The Room," and was added to the opening credits with the thirteenth episode, "King Corn." In August 2006, Alda won an Emmy for his portrayal of Arnold Vinick in the final season of "The West Wing".

In 2004, Alda portrayed the late conservative Maine Senator Owen Brewster in Martin Scorsese's Academy-Award winning film "The Aviator" in which he co-starred with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Throughout his career, Alda has received 31 Emmy Award nominations and two Tony Award nominations, and has won seven People's Choice Awards, six Golden Globe awards, and three Directors Guild of America awards. However, it was not until 2004, after a long distinguished acting career, that Alda received his first Academy Award nomination for his role in "The Aviator".

Alda also wrote several of the stories and poems that appeared in Marlo Thomas's "Free to Be... You and Me" television show.

Alda starred in the original Broadway production of the play 'Art', which opened on March 1, 1998 at the Royale Theatre. The play won the Tony Award for best original play.

In the spring of 2005, Alda starred as Shelly Levene in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play.

Charitable work, other interests

Alda has done extensive charity work. He helped narrate a 2005 St. Jude's Children's Hospital produced one-hour special TV show "Fighting for Life". [Citation | last=Saint Jude Children's Hospital | first=Web Editor | title=Saint Jude TV - Fighting For Life | publisher=Saint Jude Web Site | year=2005 | date=December 1, 2005 | url=http://www.stjude.tv/ | accessdate=2007-04-11] He and his wife, Arlene, are also close friends of Marlo Thomas, who is very active in fund raising for the hospital her father founded. The special featured Ben Bowen as one of six patients being treated for childhood cancer at Saint Jude.

In 2005, Alda published his first round of memoirs, "". [cite book |last=Alda |first=Alan |year=2006 |title=Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I've Learned |location=New York |publisher=Random House |isbn=1-4000-6409-0 ] Among other stories, he recalls his intestines becoming strangulated while on location in Chile for his PBS show "Scientific American Frontiers", during which he mildly surprised a young doctor with his understanding of medical procedures, which he learned from "M*A*S*H". He also talks about his mother's battle with schizophrenia. The title comes from an incident in his childhood, when Alda was distraught about his dog dying and his well-meaning father had the animal stuffed. Alda was horrified by the results, and took from this that sometimes we have to accept things as they are, rather than desperately and fruitlessly trying to change them.

In 2006, Alda contributed his voice to a part in the audio book of Max Brooks' "World War Z". In this book, he voiced Arthur Sinclair Jr., the director of the United States Government's fictional "Department of Strategic Resources (DeStRes)".

His second memoir, "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself", weaves together advice from public speeches he has given with personal recollections about his life and beliefs.

Alda also has an avid interest in cosmology, and participated in BBC coverage of the opening of the Large Hadron Collider, at CERN, Geneva, in September 2008. [Citation | publisher=BBC Web Site | year=2008 | url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/bigbang/physics_rocks.shtml | accessdate=2008-09-10]

Personal beliefs and other views

In the above-mentioned memoir, "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself", Alda candidly describes how briefly, at one time in his life he realized that he had practically begun thinking like an agnostic or atheist, although he had been raised as a Catholic:

Agnosticism and faith in God

Speaking further on his struggle with agnosticism, Alda goes on to say, "I still don't like the word agnostic. It's too fancy. I'm simply not a believer. But, as simple as this notion is, it confuses some people. Someone wrote a Wikipedia entry about me, identifying me as an atheist because I'd said in a book I wrote that I wasn't a believer. I guess in a world uncomfortable with uncertainty, an unbeliever must be an atheist, and possibly an infidel. This gets us back to that most pressing of human questions: why do people worry so much about other people's holding beliefs other than their own?" Alda made thosecomments in an intrerview for the 2008 question sectron of the Edge Foundation website. " [Citation | title=THE WORLD QUESTION CENTER 2008 - page 8 | publisher=Edge Foundation Web Site | year=2008 | url=http://www.edge.org/q2008/q08_8.html#alda | accessdate=2008-01-02]

Unrecognized talent

Also mentioned in his memoir, "Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself", Alda candidly spoke about his brushes with unrealized talent, it is his personal belief that the most talented comedian that he had ever been in contact with was a young man by the name Robert Hess:

"Back during my time on M*A*S*H I received many videos from young comedians, by far the most talented one among them was an open mic host named Robert Hess. During our long friendship I have came to the realization that he is probably the most ripped off comic out there, I have seen bits of his acts in almost every comic's routine for the last 20 years."

Awards and nominations

;Awards
* Emmy Award for "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" in 2006, for his portrayal of Senator & Presidential candidate Arnold Vinick in The West Wing
* Emmy Award for "Outstanding writing in a comedy" in 1979.
*;Nominations
*The audiobook version of "Things I Overheard While Talking To Myself" was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best Spoken Word Album.

*Alda received his first nomination for an Academy Award for his supporting role as Senator Ralph Owen Brewster in Martin Scorsese's film The Aviator.

Filmography

Film

*"Gone Are the Days!" (1963)
*"Paper Lion" (1968)
*"The Extraordinary Seaman" (1969)
*"Jenny" (1970)
*"The Moonshine War" (1970)
*"The Mephisto Waltz" (1971)
*"To Kill a Clown" (1972)
*"Kill Me If You Can" (1977)
*"Same Time, Next Year" (1978)
*"California Suite" (1978)
*"The Seduction of Joe Tynan" (1979)
*"The Four Seasons" (1981)
*"Sweet Liberty" (1986)
*"A New Life" (1988)
*"Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989)
*"Betsy's Wedding" (1990)
*"Whispers in the Dark" (1992)
*"Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993)
*"Canadian Bacon" (1995)
*"Flirting with Disaster" (1996)
*"Everyone Says I Love You" (1996)
*"Murder at 1600" (1997)
*"Mad City" (1997)
*"The Object of My Affection" (1998)
*"Keepers of the Frame" (1999)
*"What Women Want" (2000)
*"The Aviator" (2004)
*"Resurrecting the Champ" (2007)
*"Diminished Capacity" (2008)
*"Flash of Genius" (2008)
*"Nothing But the Truth" (2008)

Television

*"The Phil Silvers Show" (1958)
*"That Was The Week That Was" (1964-1965)
*"Where's Everett" (1966) (pilot)
*"The Glass House" (1972)
*"M*A*S*H" (1972-1983)
*"Playmates" (1972)
*"Isn't It Shocking?" (1973)
*"Free to Be… You and Me" (1974)
*"6 Rms Riv Vu" (1974)
*"Kill Me If You Can" (1977)
*"And the Band Played On" (1993)
*"Scientific American Frontiers" (1993-2005)
*"White Mile" (1994)
*"Jake's Women" (1996)
*"ER" (1999)
*"Club Land" (2001)
*"The Killing Yard" (2001)
*"The West Wing" (2004-2006)

Voice acting

*"World War Z" (2006) (voice of Director Arthur Sinclair Jr.)

Bibliography

*cite book | last= | first= | coauthors= | title=Never Have Your Dog Stuffed | location= | publisher= | year= | isbn=0091796520
*cite book | last= | first= | coauthors= | title=Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself | location= | publisher= | year= | isbn=1400066174

References

External links

*amg name|2:79264
*imdb name|0000257
*tv.com person|6158
* [http://www.236.com/blog/w/alex_leo/inappropriate_questions_for_al_1_6681.php Inappropriate Questions for Alan Alda]
* [http://www.pbs.org/saf/alan_bio2.htm Bio on "Scientific American Frontiers"]
* [http://helmi.home.pages.at/mash/english/actors/alda.html Comprehensive bio]
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5465471857405064588 InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse: Alan Alda] (TV Interview)
* [http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=%22Archive+of+American+Television+Interview+with+Alan+Alda%22&page=1&lv=1 Archive of American Television interview]
* [http://www.military.com/Careers/Content1?file=trans_alan_alda.htm&area=Content Military Service]
* [http://www.andycarvin.com/archives/2008/01/alan_alda_on_science_improv_and_richard.html Alan Alda Discusses Science, Improv and Richard Feynman] at USC's Annenberg School
* [http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/5576/Alda.htm GeoCities fan site page]
* [http://www.askalanalda.com/ Alan answering questions]
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/rundowns/rundown.php?prgId=13&prgDate=21-Sep-05 Interview with Alda] on NPR's "Fresh Air" (September 21 2005)
* [http://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/5-alan-alda Alan Alda's Charity Work]
* [http://www.americantheatrewing.org/seminars/detail/performance_04_92 Performance] "Working in the Theatre" seminar video at American Theatre Wing.org, April 1992
* [http://www.enotalone.com/article2/19026.html "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I've Learned" (Chapter 1)]
* [http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/0020-alda1.htm Inspirational Quotes from Alan Alda's Commencement Speech at Connecticut College 1980]
*cite news| last =Freeman | first =J| coauthors =| title =Exclusive interview with M*A*S*H star and author Alan Alda| work =Books| pages =| language =| publisher =The Times| date =2007-09-29| url= http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article2549845.ece| accessdate =2007-10-03

Persondata
NAME=Alda, Alan
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=D'Abruzzo, Alfonso Joseph
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Actor
DATE OF BIRTH=Birth date and age|1936|1|28|mf=y
PLACE OF BIRTH=New York City, U.S.
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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  • Alda — may refer to:*Alda, Nebraska *Alda Township, Nebraska *Saint Alda, an Italian mystic *Alan Alda, American actor, best known for his portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H *Arlene Alda, photographer, musician, author; wife of Alan Alda *Robert… …   Wikipedia

  • Alda — ist der Vorname von u.a. Alda die Ältere († 932), Frau König Hugos I. von Italien Alda die Jüngere († 954), Tochter Aldas der Älteren, Schwester König Lothars II. von Italien Alda d’Este (* 1333), Ehefrau Luigis II. Gonzaga und Tochter Obizzos… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alan — puede referirse a diversos conceptos: Nombre de Pila Alan Turing, matemático británico. Alan J. Pakula, productor y director estadounidense. Alan Alda, actor estadounidense. Alan García, Presidente del Perú desde julio de 2006. Alan Menken,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Alda (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Sommaire 1 Prénom 2 Patronyme 3 Toponyme …   Wikipédia en Français

  • alda- — *alda , *aldaz germ., Adjektiv: nhd. alt; ne. old (Adjektiv); Rekontruktionsbasis: got., ae., afries., anfrk., as., ahd.; Hinweis: s. *alþa , *alan; Quelle …   Germanisches Wörterbuch


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