M*A*S*H star Alan Alda said he’s glad the “nice guy” label isn’t being stuck to him as much in a 2012 interview. He also felt the title was encumbering and difficult to live up to.
During a book tour in 2012, an Atlanta-Journal Constitution reporter brought up Alda’s “nice guy” image by discussing a Newsweek article from the early M*A*S*H years. It was about Alan Alda and the headline read “Nice Guys Finish First.”
Alan Alda laughed off the assertion that he is a “Mr. Nice Guy” type.
“That story nearly did me in! That became my nickname. Mr. Nice Guy,” he said. “Thank goodness that has blown over. . . . It’s funny. I was just interviewed by a guy who said he’s 40 and he read that on the Internet about this nice guy thing. He said, “I never thought of you as particularly nice! Where did that come from?” He’s going by what I’ve done in recent years. If you have a reputation, even if facts counter that, people will often ignore it. The second or third year I was on M*A*S*H, I played a guy in a TV movie who was on death row for rape and abduction. He wasn’t exactly a nice guy. I’ve always played a range of people.”
The image likely didn’t come from Alda’s time in front of the camera but off of it. He projected a sense of calm and breezy politeness that made him someone to emulate. But what we didn’t know much about at that time were the lawsuits.
Alan Alda Loves To Sue People, He Says
Alan Alda may appear nice, but he doesn’t like to be pushed around. And he will stand up for what he’s owed. So, that’s why he’s repeatedly told news outlets “I love a good lawsuit.”
It’s strange coming from Alda’s mouth, but it makes sense. As M*A*S*H grew in popularity, the other casts members looked to him to handle the executives.
And Hollywood is full of people looking to take advantage of actors. Executives could hem lawyers into awful contracts that left them without much recourse. One tried it on Alda once, and Alda was more than happy to see them in court.
“Somebody, without even asking, tried to get me into one of those seven-year contracts where they control everything you do,” he told Vanity Fair. They made the deal with my agent without consulting me and acted as though I had to fulfill the contract. They were suing me not only to fulfill the contract but to take a cut of the amount of money that I was going to get for fulfilling the contract.”
Alda said he won the case.
“They were really being bas***ds,” he added.