‘M*A*S*H’ Actor Alan Alda Revealed Why He Isn’t a Perfectionist, Credited Early Training’s Important Lessons

by Megan Molseed
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Alan Alda is easily one of Hollywood’s most talented actors. Having starred in dozens of movies, multiple television appearances the M*A*S*H star is certainly a household name. 

Alda has played it all, from playing a conniving and thieving money man in “Tower Heist;” to a wise-cracking surgeon on “M*A*S*H.”

The actor even found a starring as the laid-back hippie-leader in “Wanderlust,” starring Jennifer Aniston.

Alan Alda Never Felt He Was a Perfectionist

In 2017, Alan Alda discussed with the “Harvard Business Review” how he developed the talent to nail each one of his unique roles.

When asked during the interview how the M*A*S*H star reacts to his coworker’s description that the actor is diligent, the hardest worker, and a perfectionist, Alan Alda says that he is far from a perfectionist. 

“I don’t think I’m a perfectionist,” Alan Alda responded in the 2017 interview. “My early training as an improviser, which was really the only formal training I had as an actor.”

Alan Alda’s training in improvisation actually helps him focus less on being “perfect,” the actor noted during the interview.

“(The training) got me used to the idea of uncertainty and the value of the imperfect,” Alda said.

“Everything is a stepping-stone to something else,” the M*A*S*H actor adds. “Whether it’s perfect or kind of lousy. I’m always looking to get better. It will never be perfect.”

M*A*S*H’s Alan Alda Carries a Variety of Talents

In 1972, Alan Alda landed a starring role in the hit television series, “M*A*S*H.”

The breakthrough CBS series “M*A*S*H” aired from 1972 until 1983. The show was a spin-off of the popular 1970 movie of the same name. The series follows a team of doctors and various members of the support staff in a mobile surgical hospital during the Korean war. 

Alan Alda plays surgeon Captain Hawkeye Pierce in “M*A*S*H.” Pierce is the wisecracking, womanizing, prankster of the bunch. Known for his “off-the-cuff” behavior out of the surgical room, the army surgeon is all business when it comes to saving the lives of the soldiers that end up on his table. 

When the hit breakthrough series came to an end in 1983, Alan Alda kept busy in a variety of films and television roles. 

He had a major role in the moving television film about the first few years of the AIDS epidemic, “And the Band Played On.” Alda starred opposite Leonardo Dicaprio as Senator Ralph Owen Brewster” in “The Aviator.” Alan Alda also returned to television in the 1990s hit medical series “ER” as Doctor Gabriel Lawrence, and later as Senator Arnold Vinick in “The West Wing.”

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