‘M*A*S*H’: One Star Was Once Selected ‘Most Believable Actor in the U.S.’

by Emily Morgan
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There’s a reason why “M*A*S*H” lasted for over a decade. It had some of the best actors of all time working on the show. The military sitcom, which started as an adaptation of an Oscar-winning movie, served as a light-hearted show set in the middle of a war zone. The show managed to garner more fans with each year it was on the air, thanks in part to its writing and cast. Without actors such as Alan Alda, the show wouldn’t have had the same success of combining the comedic edge alongside the topic of war. 

Alan Alda Lent Real-Life Military Experience To ‘M*A*S*H’

Much of the show’s success can be credited to Alda. Alda spent time serving in the military before transitioning to his on-screen role playing Hawkeye Pierce.  Alda had served in the military, making him one of the most believable actors. “M*A*S*H” was set during the Korean War, and even though the show aired nearly 20 years later, many of the “M*A*S*H cast members and producers had spent time serving in the war. 

After Alda finished college, he enlisted in the Army Reserves and spent six months stationed in Korea. His “M*A*S*H” costar Jamie Farr was drafted into the Navy and spent two years on active duty. McLean Stevenson, who played Colonel Blake in the first three seasons, was also in the Navy.

Due to his military duty history, Alda was the best person to tackle the tough subject matter. However, according to Alda, he was concerned that the series might devolve into something else.  “I was worried that it would become a hijinks at the front and that the war would just sort of exist as a pretext for silly stories,” Alda told NPR. He added that some freelance scripts were filled with jokes, which confirmed his worries. 

Despite his concerns, Alda went on to wow audiences with his portrayal of Hawkeye while on “M*A*S*H. His commitment to his role paid off when he was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards and took home five. Alda was also the only series regular on “M*A*S*H” to appear in all 256 episodes of the show. 

Outsider.com