In an interview with Studio 10, Alan Alda talked about M*A*S*H’s rigorous shooting schedule. Alda played the legendary Hawkeye Pierce. During his time as Hawkeye, he was nominated for 21 Emmy awards and won 5 of them.
“We shot like a movie.” He said, “We shot a half-hour show in four days, We always ran out of time. We were shooting until almost midnight. It was the pleasure and the fun of getting good work done, even though you didn’t have time to do it, so that was fun.”
Alda wasn’t just working crazy hours on the M*A*S*H set, he also had to travel. He frequently commuted from his home in New Jersey to Los Angeles for the show. He didn’t know how long the show would last and didn’t want to move his entire family.
Alda also Wrote and Directed for ‘M*A*S*H’
Alan Alda also did a lot of work behind the camera for the hit show. He took part in the writing process of 19 episodes of M*A*S*H and directed 32. One of the episodes he wrote, Inga, won an Emmy Award. In the episode, Hawkeye has to address his sexism when working with a female surgeon.
Alda also wrote for the record-breaking series finale. That M*A*S*H episode remains the single most-watched episode of any American broadcast network Television series in television in history. More than half of all households with a television watched the finale. In New York, the sewer system suffered because people used the bathroom after the show was over, holding it in while it aired.
In a 2019 Interview with Vanity Fair, Alda spoke of why M*A*S*H worked so well.“We were lucky to be able to present human stories—in spite of the fact that it was a comedy—to let in the tragedy and horror of war,” he said. The show never shied away from those heavy topics.
Alan Alda Today
Alan Alda is now 85 years old and continues to act. His recent role in the critically acclaimed Marriage Story as a divorce lawyer proves his acting chops haven’t faded since his M*A*S*H days.
Alda was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and now advocates for awareness of the condition. Parkinson’s is a neurological condition that often affects movement. It’s widely misunderstood.
“There is a stigma attached to it,” he told Vanity Fair. “To this day, people think that if you get a diagnosis of Parkinson’s that your life is over. It’s a serious thing, but you have to know that it’s possible to work on it. You can still have a good life for a long time,” and it appears that’s exactly what the former M*A*S*H star, who continues to advocate for the causes he believes in and act from time to time, plans to do.