Alan Alda Then and Now

By / June 12, 2024

Alan Alda Then

Alan Alda, born Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo on January 28, 1936, in New York City, grew up in a family deeply rooted in the entertainment industry.

His father, Robert Alda, was a notable singer and actor originally named Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D’Abruzzo. 

Robert adopted the stage name Robert Alda by combining the first two letters of Alfonso and D’Abruzzo, a decision that likely influenced Alan’s own professional path. 

Alan’s mother, Joan, was a former beauty pageant winner and homemaker, adding a touch of glamour to his upbringing.

Alan’s childhood was marked by constant travel across the country, a result of his father’s work as a burlesque theatre performer. 

alan alda young
via alan alda instagram

This nomadic lifestyle exposed him to various cultures and experiences from a young age. 

At the tender age of seven, Alan contracted polio, a significant challenge that required him to undergo intense treatment. 

His parents wrapped “scalding blankets…around his limbs every hour” for six months, a testament to their dedication and the severity of his illness.

Related Article: Ron Howard Then and Now

Despite these early hardships, Alan Alda’s education was rich and varied. 

He attended Archbishop Stepinac High School and, during his junior year, studied in Paris. 

His time in Europe included performing in a stage production in Rome and appearing on a television show in Amsterdam with his father, experiences that undoubtedly honed his acting skills and broadened his worldview. 

Alda then pursued higher education at Fordham University, where he joined the ROTC and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1956.

Related Article: Sigourney Weaver Then and Now

His academic background provided a solid foundation for his future career in acting and writing.

After college, Alan Alda served in the U.S. Army Reserve, spending six months deployed in Korea. 

This military service added another layer of depth to his life experiences. Meanwhile, his personal life saw significant changes as well. 

Alan’s parents divorced in 1946, and his father later remarried actress Flora Marino.

Related Article: Mel Gibson Then and Now

This union brought a new family dynamic, and Alda welcomed his half-brother, Anthony, born in 1956.

Alan Alda’s early life, marked by travel, health challenges, diverse educational experiences, and a strong familial connection to the entertainment industry, shaped him into the versatile and resilient individual he became. 

These formative years laid the groundwork for his illustrious career as an actor, director, and writer, enabling him to draw from a rich tapestry of personal experiences.

Related Article: Danny Glover Then and Now

Alan Alda Acting Career

Alan Alda’s career in entertainment began in the 1950s with his involvement in the improvisational comedy troupe the Compass Players. 

This early experience in improvisation helped hone his comedic timing and versatility as an actor. 

He further developed his craft at the Cleveland Play House during the 1958-1959 season, where he appeared in productions such as “Heaven Come Wednesday,” “To Dorothy a Son,” and “Job.”

Related Article: Samuel L. Jackson Then and Now

Alda’s television debut came in 1958 on “The Phil Silvers Show,” and he made his Broadway debut the following year in “Only in America.” 

These initial forays into television and theater set the stage for his diverse and prolific career.

Alda’s film debut came with the 1963 film “Gone Are the Days!” This period also saw him guest-starring on popular TV shows like “Naked City” (1962), “The Doctors and the Nurses” (1963), “Route 66” (1963), and “The Trials of O’Brien” (1965).

Related Article: Viola Davis Then and Now

His early film roles included “Paper Lion” (1968), “The Extraordinary Seaman” (1969), “The Moonshine War” (1970), “The Mephisto Waltz” (1971), and “To Kill a Clown” (1972), showcasing his ability to tackle a variety of genres. 

alan alda career
via alan alda instagram

However, Alda’s breakthrough role came in 1972 when he was cast as Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce on the television series “MAS*H.”

Alda’s portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce on “MASH” made him a household name.

Related Article: LL Cool J Then and Now

He appeared in all 256 episodes of the series, contributing not only as an actor but also as a writer and director. 

His work on “MASH” earned him numerous awards, and the series finale, which he wrote and directed, became the most-watched episode of any American TV series at the time. During his tenure on “MAS*H,” Alda also appeared in notable films such as “Same Time, Next Year” (1978) and “California Suite” (1978), and television films like “Isn’t It Shocking?” (1973) and “Kill Me If You Can” (1977).

Related Article: Lucy Liu Then and Now

After “MAS*H” ended in 1983, Alda continued to make significant contributions to film and television. 

He wrote, directed, and starred in “Sweet Liberty” (1986) and “A New Life” (1988). His roles in “Crimes and Misdemeanors” (1989) and “Whispers in the Dark” (1992) further showcased his dramatic talents. 

Alda’s performance in the TV movie “And the Band Played On” (1993) was widely praised. In 1995, he portrayed the President of the United States in “Canadian Bacon” and co-starred in the comedy “Flirting with Disaster” (1996).

Related Article: Elisabeth Shue Then and Now

His performances in “Murder at 1600” (1997), “Mad City” (1997), and “The Object of My Affection” (1998) demonstrated his continued versatility.

In 1999, Alda guest-starred on NBC’s “ER,” earning a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. 

He appeared in the hit film “What Women Want” (2000) and received an Oscar nomination for his role as Republican politician Owen Brewster in “The Aviator” (2004).

Related Article: Cameron Diaz Then and Now

From 2004 to 2006, Alda played Senator Arnold Vinick on NBC’s “The West Wing,” a role that earned him an Emmy. 

He continued to act in films such as “Resurrecting the Champ” (2007), “Flash of Genius” (2008), and “Nothing but the Truth” (2008), and made memorable guest appearances on “30 Rock” in 2009 and 2010.

Alda’s later career included guest-starring roles on “The Big C” (2011-2013) and “The Blacklist” (2013-2014).

Related Article: Drew Barrymore Then and Now

He reunited with Ben Stiller in “Tower Heist” (2011) and with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in “Wanderlust” (2012). 

His performance in Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” (2015) and the film adaptation of “The Longest Ride” (2015) further solidified his status as a respected actor.

Recent guest-starring roles in “Broad City” (2016), “The Good Fight” (2018-2019), and “Ray Donovan” (2018-2020), as well as his acclaimed performance in “Marriage Story” (2019), demonstrate that Alan Alda continues to captivate audiences with his talent and versatility well into his 80s.

Related Article: Bob Saget Then and Now

Alan Alda Movies

alan alda movies list
via alan alda instagram
  • Gone Are the Days! (1963) – Charlie Cotchipee
  • Paper Lion (1968) – George Plimpton
  • The Extraordinary Seaman (1969) – Ens. Morton Krim
  • The Moonshine War (1970) – John W. Martin
  • The Mephisto Waltz (1971) – Myles Clarkson
  • To Kill a Clown (1972) – Major Evelyn Ritchie
  • Same Time, Next Year (1978) – George Peters
  • California Suite (1978) – Bill Warren
  • 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)
  • And the Band Played On (1993, TV Movie)
  • 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)
  • What Women Want (2000)
  • Club Land (2001, TV Movie)
  • The Killing Yard (2001, TV Movie)
  • The Aviator (2004)
  • Resurrecting the Champ (2007)
  • Flash of Genius (2008)
  • Nothing But the Truth (2008)
  • Tower Heist (2011)
  • Wanderlust (2012)
  • Bridge of Spies (2015)
  • The Longest Ride (2015)
  • Marriage Story (2019) 
  • The Human Voice (2020) – Voice
  • Ray Donovan: The Movie (2022)
  • Remembering Gene Wilder (2023)

Alan Alda’s Wife and Children

Alan Alda’s personal life has been marked by his enduring marriage to his wife, Arlene, whom he married in 1957. 

The couple shares a deep bond and has raised three daughters together: Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice. 

Their family life has been a source of joy and support for Alda throughout his illustrious career in the entertainment industry.

Related Article: Jon Hamm Then and Now

Despite the demands of his profession, Alda has prioritized his role as a husband and father, emphasizing the importance of family in his life.

In July 2018, Alda made a candid revelation during an interview on CBS This Morning, sharing that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in early 2015. 

Despite this diagnosis, Alda, then 82 years old, demonstrated resilience and positivity, stating that the degenerative disease had barely slowed him down.

Related Article: James Earl Jones Then and Now

He continued to pursue his passions, including performing, playing tennis, and even taking boxing lessons. 

Alda’s determination to remain active and engaged in life despite facing health challenges serves as a testament to his indomitable spirit and positive outlook.

Alda’s openness about his Parkinson’s diagnosis has raised awareness about the disease and inspired others facing similar health struggles.

His willingness to share his journey publicly has helped destigmatize Parkinson’s and highlighted the importance of living life to the fullest, regardless of the obstacles one may encounter. 

Related Article: John Stamos Then and Now

Alda’s ability to maintain a sense of humor and optimism in the face of adversity serves as an inspiration to many, reinforcing his status not only as a talented actor but also as a resilient and courageous individual.

Alan Alda Now

alan alda age
via alan alda instagram

At 88 years old, Alan Alda stands as a multifaceted figure in the entertainment industry, with a career spanning over six decades. 

Renowned as an American actor, author, comedian, screenwriter, podcast host, and director, Alda has left an indelible mark on both stage and screen. 

Throughout his career, he has garnered numerous accolades, including six Emmy Awards and six Golden Globe Awards, along with three Tony Award nominations, showcasing his remarkable talent and versatility.

Related Article: David Schwimmer Then and Now

Alda is perhaps best known for his iconic portrayal of Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce in the CBS wartime sitcom “MASH” (1972–1983). 

His portrayal of the irreverent yet compassionate army surgeon endeared him to audiences worldwide and earned him widespread acclaim. 

Notably, Alda also contributed significantly to “MASH” behind the scenes, writing and directing numerous episodes of the series, further solidifying his creative influence on the show.

Related Article: Rob Lowe Then and Now

Beyond his role in “MAS*H,” Alda has built a diverse and distinguished career across various mediums. 

He has excelled as an actor in stage productions, films, and television series, demonstrating his range and depth as a performer. 

Additionally, Alda has ventured into writing and directing, showcasing his creative talents behind the camera as well.

Alda’s net worth, estimated at $50 million, reflects the success and longevity of his career.

Related Article: Helen Hunt Then and Now

He has earned his wealth through his prolific acting roles in stage, film, and television projects, as well as through his ventures as a director and writer. 

Alda’s enduring presence in the entertainment industry, coupled with his dedication to his craft and his ability to connect with audiences, cements his status as a true legend in Hollywood.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top