Alan Alda (born January 28, 1936) is an American actor, director and screenwriter. A five-time Emmy Award and six-time Golden Globe Award winner, he is best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was viewed as the archetypal sympathetic male, though in recent years, he has appeared in roles that counter that image. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Stony Brook University School of Journalism.
Alda was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in The Bronx, New York City. His father, Robert Alda (born Alphonso Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo), was an actor and singer, and his mother, Joan Brown, was a former Miss New York. Alda is of Italian and Irish descent. His adopted surname, "Alda," is a portmanteau of ALphonso and D'Abruzzo. When Alda was seven years old, he contracted Poliomyelitis. To combat the disease, his parents administered a painful treatment regimen developed by Sister Elizabeth Kenny that consisted of applying hot woolen blankets to his limbs and stretching his muscles. This allowed him to recover from most effects of the disease. Later, Alda attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York. In 1956, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in English from Fordham College of Fordham University in the Bronx, where he was a student staff member of its FM radio station, WFUV. During his junior year, he studied in Paris, acted in a play in Rome and performed with his father on television in Amsterdam. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve and served a six-month tour of duty as a gunnery officer. A year after graduation, he married Arlene Weiss, with whom he has three daughters, Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice. He also has seven grandchildren, two of whom are aspiring actors. The Aldas have been longtime residents of Leonia, New Jersey. Alda frequented Sol & Sol deli on Palisade Ave. in the nearby town of Englewood, N.J. in real life – a fact mirrored in his character's daydream about eating whitefish from the establishment in an episode of M*A*S*H in which Hawkeye sustains a head injury.
Alda began his career in the 1950s as a member of the Compass Players comedy revue. In 1966, he starred in the musical The Apple Tree on Broadway; he was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for that role.