Alan Alda was one of the stars of the hit television show M*A*S*H. He was also a man of character and principle. These qualities were evident during an interview he did with Barbara Walters in 1978.
During the televised interview, the man famous for playing Hawkeye Pierce on the famous show was happy to discuss his support for the Equal Rights Amendment. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, this amendment was proposed in the United States Congress in 1972.
According to the website, the amendment at that time read as follows: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
The M*A*S*H actor was such a supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment that he referred to it as “the only cause he would drop everything to work for.” He explained why he was such a supporter of the measure during that 1978 interview.
“As long as women are not included in the Constitution, it’s a Constitution for men,” Alda said to Walters. “Certainly, many benefits flow to women too. But, women are excluded from the Constitution as long as we don’t have the Equal Rights Amendment. And, women are a majority of the country to 53 percent. How can they be excluded? What kind of a craziness is this? It doesn’t conform to our notion of what American is. It’s not fair.”
M*A*S*H Actor Alan Alda Discusses Roles of Men & Women During Interview
Prior to Walters asking the M*A*S*H star about the Equal Rights Amendment, he talked about the roles of men and women in the home. And, it should come as no surprise that he believed both sexes had equal responsibilities to share. Raising children, according to Alda, wasn’t just a woman’s responsibility.
The actor said that both men and women who are parents had to face the issue of balancing their work outside of the home with their responsibilities inside their homes. However, the M*A*S*H star said he felt that at the time society put more pressure on women to spend most of their time focusing on their families and homes.
“The way things are presently organized women have a greater problem because everybody just assumes that it’s not man’s place to work in the home – to really devote himself to the running of the household, to the rearing of the children,” Alda said. “Well, that’s baloney. It is man’s place. If raising children is so great, how come men aren’t doing it? It is great. They ought to be doing it. And, more and more they are.”
Alda was such a devoted family fan that while filming M*A*S*H he would fly across the country almost every weekend to be with his family. According to the interview, the show filmed in California. Alda’s wife and three children lived in New Jersey.
M*A*S*H aired from 1972 until 1983. It is still one of the most popular television shows of all time. Set during the Korean War, it followed a group of medical professionals working in a U.S. Army hospital.