Surprising Facts about Alan Alda That Not Even Die-Hard 'M*A*S*H' Fans Know about Him

Alan Alda has had an exciting career and life, and there are probably many facts that even the most die-hard fans of the "M*A*S*H" didn't know about him.

Alda, who started his career in the 1950s, is best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the war television series "M*A*S*H," which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983. The hit show helped solidify him as one of America's beloved TV stars.

"My mother was quoted as saying they'd hoped I'd get sick and never smoke again but that I liked it and had continued to smoke the pipe."

Alan Alda at Lincoln Center on May 22, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Alan Alda at Lincoln Center on May 22, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Here's a list of some truly cool facts about the legendary actor that the "M*A*S*H" fans presumably do not know about him.

HIS PARENTS WERE ONCE POPULAR

Born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in January 1936 in the Bronx, New York City, Alda spent his childhood with his parents traveling around the United States. His father Robert Alda was an actor and singer, and his mother Joan Browne was a homemaker and former beauty-pageant winner.

HE SUFFERED FROM POLIO

Alda contracted polio when he was seven years of age. His parents applied an excruciating treatment regimen to battle the disease.

Alan Alda at the 1979 Emmy Award in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Alan Alda at the 1979 Emmy Award in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

AT TWO HE WAS SMOKING A PIPE

In his memoir, "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed," Alda revealed that he discovers comfort from worldly cares in a briar pipe.

"As for smoking, according to the myth dreamed up by my father, I had reached up and taken the pipe out of his mouth a year earlier," he recalled. "My mother was quoted as saying they'd hoped I'd get sick and never smoke again but that I liked it and had continued to smoke the pipe."

HE SERVED IN THE MILITARY

After graduating from Fordham University, Alda joined the Army Reserve. He finished a six-month tour of duty during the Korean War. 

A LAST MINUTE ADDITION TO THE CAST OF "M*A*S*H"

Alda is likely a standout amongst the most defining characters of the hit comedy-drama television show set in an American mobile army hospital during the Korean War. However, he didn't formally sign on until around six hours before the pilot scene began filming.

Alan Alda and Arlene Alda at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 22, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Alan Alda and Arlene Alda at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 22, 2019 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

HE ALMOST DIED WHILE FILMING A SHOW

Alda started to experience serious stomach cramping while he was recording Scientific American Frontiers in Chile. When they hurried him to the ER, they realized he was suffering from a dangerous intestinal obstruction. Luckily, he survived the medical procedure and has proceeded to do some totally extraordinary things. 

Alan Alda at The Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

Alan Alda at The Shrine Auditorium on January 27, 2019 in Los Angeles, California | Photo: Getty Images

A SUCCESSFUL ACTOR

All through his career, Alda has received 31 Emmy Award nominations and two Tony Award nominations. He has won seven People's Choice Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, and three Directors Guild of America awards. He got his first Academy Award nomination, for his role in "The Aviator," in 2005. He appeared in over 30 films and 30 television shows.

A DOTING HUSBAND AND FATHER

Alda has been married to Arlene Weiss since 1957. The couple keep their marriage healthy and successful. They have three daughters — Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice.

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