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Actor, Writer, Producer
In the case of Alan Alda, art imitates life. Because before he created his award-winning and longstanding TV role as Captain Hawkeye Pierce, a medic stationed overseas during the Korean War, Alan Alda served his country. as a gunnery officer in Korea, following the Korean War.
Alan Alda was born in New York City. In 1956 he received his bachelor's degree from Fordham College of Fordham University in the Bronx. During his junior year, he studied in Paris, where he acted in a play in Rome and performed with his father on television in Amsterdam.
After graduation, Alda joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served a six-month tour of duty in Korea.
Alda came home and 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. 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 occult-murder-suspense thriller The Mephisto Waltz.
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. For this role, he was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards, and won five. He took part in writing 19 M*A*S*H episodes, including the Finale, and directed 32 episodes. Alda was the first person to win Emmy Awards for acting, writing and directing for the same series. He 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.
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 The Four Seasons being perhaps his most notable hit. Betsy's Wedding (1990) is his last directing credit to date. His role as a pompous celebrity comedian in Crimes and Misdemeanors was widely seen as a self-parody.
In 1995 Alda starred as the President in Canadian Bacon. In 1996, Alda played Henry Ford in Camping With Henry and Tom. 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, for which, in August 2006, Alda won an Emmy Award.
In 2004, Alda portrayed the late conservative Maine Senator Owen Brewster in The Aviator and received his first Academy Award nomination for his role.
In the spring of 2005, Alda starred in the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
Alda has always 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. He is also known for his extensive charity work, helping to narrate a 2005 St. Jude's Children's Hospital produced one-hour special TV show Fighting for Life.
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.
In 2005, Alda published his first round of memoirs, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I've Learned. His second memoir, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, is filled with personal recollections about his life and beliefs.
The handprints and noseprint of Alan Alda are in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.