Alan Alda decided to reach out after the “M*A*S*H” star was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He found another actor dealing with it, too.
Alda, who played “Hawkeye” Pierce for 11 seasons on the CBS show, talks about discussing his health issues with Michael J. Fox. Alda discusses making the connection during a 2018 interview with radio station WTOP.
“This guy [Fox] is so amazing,” Alda said. “We shared some stuff together because three or four years ago [in 2015], I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s too, so we were sharing notes.
“This guy has had it since he was 29 and he’s conducted a life where he’s found a way to keep acting even though he’s got this progressive disease,” he said. “His communication is so good that he’s raised almost a billion dollars to find a cure for Parkinson’s. … He’s really inspiring to listen to — and funny.”
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Didn’t Reveal Diagnosis Publicly Until 2018
It was during a “CBS This Morning” appearance in 2018 that the “M*A*S*H” star told the world about his diagnosis.
Fox, who starred in shows like “Family Ties” and “Spin City,” created The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in light of his own journey with the disease. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1991 and remains, at 60 years old, a staunch advocate for researching its causes and conditions.
“M*A*S*H” remains one of the biggest highlights in Alda’s long, successful career. He would act, write, and produce numerous episodes throughout the show’s 11-season run on CBS. Alda amassed 21 Emmy nominations for the show, winning five times.
Success Didn’t Always Knock On Alda’s Door Immediately
One might think that Alda has just had a career filled with success after success. Not so fast on that thought, OK. He suffered through a number of early failures before “M*A*S*H” came along into his life.
“I was guided not by a goal but by the love of what I was trying to learn how to do,” Alda said in a 2017 interview with the Harvard Business Review. “And the deep desire to do it as well as I possibly could. And that made a big difference because whichever way it led me, I’d be OK.”
Alda would sometimes find himself wearing the director’s hat on the famed TV show.
“One of our daughters, when she was about eight, said, ‘You’re directing yourself? What do you say? You, go there,'” Alda said in the same Harvard Business Review interview. “It’s a problem because when you’re directing you need objectivity, and it’s hard to be objective about your own performance.”
These days, Alda is still working on projects and giving interviews about his career and even life with Parkinson’s disease. But he is following a path of creativity that gives him something to live for all the time. His success in movies and TV are quite numerous and will