Alan Alda A Life And Career

alan alda

“Alan Alda”

Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo (better known as Alan Alda) was born January 28, 1936 in the Bronx in New York.  His father was an actor known as Robert Alda. (His birth name was Alphonso Guiseppi Giovanni Roberto D’Abruzzo).  Joan Brown was Alan’s mother.  She was a former showgirl and had once been crowned Miss New York.

The last name Alda was derived by taking the first two letters of Robert’s first and last name – AL and DA – making Alda.

As a boy Alan Alda suffered from a serious case of polio.  His father followed a painful treatment of applying hot wool blankets and then stretching Alan’s limbs.  This treatment program had been developed by Sister Elizabeth Kenny who was an expert on polio treatment.

Alan attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains New York.  He went on to Fordham College where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree.  During his junior year he studied in Paris at the Sorbonne.  In college he was an ROTC member.

At the ripe old age of six months Alan Alda made his debut on stage appearing with his father in a burlesque schoolroom sketch.

While he was at college Alan worked at an FM radio station as a student staff member.  He acted in Rome when he was studying in Paris and did some TV in Amsterdam with his father.

After graduating from college Alan was stationed at Fort Benning Georgia where he served for a year.  He also served in the Army Reserve.

Alan Alda started his career with the Compass Players comedy review in the 1950s.  He starred in a Broadway musical in 1966 “The Apple Tree”.  For this role he was nominated as Best Actor in a musical for a Tony Award.

Alda went on the act in several Hollywood  films and appeared on TV on some game shows such as “What’s My Line”, “I’ve Got a Secret”, The $10,000 Pyramid” and “To Tell The Truth”.

Probably Alan Alda is remembered by most fans for his portrayal of Dr. Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series MASH.  The series ran from 1972 to 1983 and Alda appeared in every one of the 251 episodes.  He almost turned down the role because he did not think war was an appropriate backdrop for comedy.

After the original writers left the show Alda gradually changed the tone of the series to reflect more serious political issues while still retaining its comedic side.

Alan took part in writing twenty episodes of MASH and directed thirty-two episodes.  He is the first person to receive Emmy Awards for writing, acting and directing for the same series.  During MASH’S run Alda was nominated for twenty one Emmy Awards, winning five.

While he was acting in MASH Alda commuted each week from his home in New Jersey to Los Angeles so he did not have to uproot his family from their home.

Alan Alda married Arlene Weiss March 15, 1957.  She is a clarinetist and photographer.  They have three daughters Eve, Elizabeth and Beatrice.

After MASH ended Alan Alda went on with his successful career as a writer, actor and director.  He was featured in several films and was a cast member on “The West Wing”.

He has also served as a member of The Center for Communicating Science advisory board and as a visiting professor at Stony Brook School of Journalism in New York.

Alda has worked with Marlo Thomas in helping with fund raising for St. Jude’s Hospital.  He is also an outspoken advocate for Women’s Rights.

Alan Alda has had a very successful career as an actor, screenwriter, director and author.


  1. This man was very busy indeed. I had no idea he had polio has a child. My friend and “evil twin” lol, was a polio survivor as well. I wonder if my friend had the same treatment that Mr. Alda did if he would of been able to walk better today. Oh well I guess it is what you can find out about what. The computer age wasn’t even thought of in those days so finding information out about anything would of been rough indeed. Mr. Alda you are an indeed gifted person. I love the series M.A.S.H. and I think I have seen every episode at least 10 times, and still laugh.

  2. LOIS MAYS says:

    did he die??

  3. LOIS MAYS says:

    He is one of my favorite actors!

  4. LOIS MAYS says:

    He is one of my favorite actors!!!

  5. LOIS MAYS says:

    You speak of him as he is no longer living????

  6. Christina Turner says:

    I bought Alan Alda s book….. Never stuff your dog

    I LOVED THIS BOOK…. You should buy it

  7. Sara Myska says:

    I have always loved this show. About three years ago I met radar where I worked and it was great I just wish that I could meet everyone from MASH!

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