Alan Alda, who is revered in Hollywood for playing Hawkeye Pierce on the beloved TV series “MAS*H,” overcame numerous obstacles as a child on the way to success.

The now 86-year-old actor, director, and writer rose to renown throughout the world for his role as the witty physician Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce in the enduring TV series.

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Sadly, he is now dealing with Parkinson’s disease, and he recently discussed some of the most difficult symptoms of the condition.

One of the highest-rated programmes in American television history, the wartime comedy and drama MAS*H ran from 1972 to 1983. Its final episode continues to be one of the most watched series finales ever.

Due to his performance in the adored programme, Alan Alda ended up receiving a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series six times.

Alan Alda

Despite originating from a showbiz family, the highly regarded actor had many upheavals, hardships, and trauma throughout his early years.

Despite originating from a showbiz family, the highly regarded actor had many upheavals, hardships, and trauma throughout his early years.

Alan, who was born in the Bronx in 1936, spent his early years travelling with his parents around America in support of his father’s work as a performer in burlesque theatres. His mother Joan Browne was a housewife and previous beauty pageant winner, while his father Robert Alda (born Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D’Abruzzo) was an actor and singer.

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Alan disclosed that his mother struggled with her mental health and that his father frequently spent many nights away from the family home working in his memoir, “Never Have Your Dog Stuffed — and Other Things I’ve Learned.”

Since there were little supports available and mental illness was a taboo subject in the 1940s and 1950s, many families were left to handle it on their own.

How much simpler it would have been if my father and I had dealt with her illness together, comparing notes and strategizing. Instead, each of us was alone ourselves,” he said in his memoir from 2005.

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He recalled a horrifying childhood recollection of staying up late with his mother when he was only six years old since his father was working late.

Robert’s wife suspected him of having an extramarital affair when he returned home. A paring knife attempt by Alan’s mother to stab his father followed the altercation. Alan took the knife from his dad and slammed it into the table, breaking the tip before anyone was hurt.

Alan Alda, wife Arlene and daughters circa 1981 in New York City / Getty Images

He acknowledges that when he brought up the incident with his parents a few weeks later, they flatly denied any knowledge of the occurrence and his mother said he had made it up.

Alan was identified as having the crippling and fatal disease polio the next year.

He admitted to having it when he was 7 to AARP magazine. “I honked the entire evening at Warner’s movie theatre with a stuffy nose. I was unable to blow my nose. I puked when I arrived home, and my legs felt shaky. I woke up the next day with a stiff neck. I was unable to sit up in bed.

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Alan Alda received a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in 2015; this degenerative neurological condition. He first became interested in Parkinson’s disease after reading an article in The New York Times in which doctors described some peculiar symptoms they had observed in some of their patients.

The patients had a propensity to physically play out their fantasies while they were still unconscious, according to the doctors. The disorder is additionally known as REM sleep behaviour disorder. When Alan realised what was happening, he made the decision to visit a doctor and request a brain scan.

“I had a dream that someone was attacking me, and I threw a sack of potatoes at him in the dream. In actuality, I hit my wife with a pillow. Therefore, he told AARP Magazine in 2020 that he thought there was a strong likelihood he had Parkinson’s disease.


The physician was unsure whether Alan actually had the illness, though. He believed the signs seemed imprecise, and there wasn’t sufficient evidence to support the award-winning actor’s Parkinson’s diagnosis.

But after certain scans, bad news was revealed.

The actor remembered, “He called me back and said, ‘Boy, you really got it.

Alan, however, decided as soon as he received his diagnosis that he would not allow the illness dictate how he lived. First of all, he preferred telling the story himself rather than being the focus of a “sad” story.

The well-liked actor declared in 2020 that neither optimism nor pessimism were useful in any situation.


He told AARP, “You simply have to surf uncertainty, because that’s all we have.”

He later told People, “The silver lining is that I keep growing more confident that I can always find a workaround.” “Life is adapting, altering, and editing,” I am more persuaded than ever.

Now, Alan is making every effort to halt the onset of his Parkinson’s. He works out, plays chess with his wife, and has his own podcast called “Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda” in an effort to keep himself occupied. Of course, the illness is having an impact on him and making life more difficult for him.

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With stiff fingers, it can be difficult to tie shoelaces. Imagine playing the violin when mittens are on,” he advised People.

Alda argues that this common misconception, which equates a Parkinson’s diagnosis with a death sentence, is untrue. Parkinson’s disease does not immediately cause death in those who have it.

“Getting depressed is a typical reaction, but it’s not required. Although things may certainly get worse, your life is not over. You die with it, not from it, he told the Wall Street Journal.