- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
SAG-AFTRA has selected Alan Alda as the 55th recipient of its annual life achievement award, which he will receive at the 2019 SAG Awards on Jan. 27.
Alda, best-known for his role as Army Capt. “Hawkeye” Pierce on CBS’ beloved military comedy M*A*S*H, became the first person to have won acting, directing and writing Emmys for the same series. Since the M*A*S*H series finale in 1983, still one of the highest-rated programs in the U.S. of all time, watched by 106 million people, he has appeared on TV shows including ER, The West Wing, 30 Rock, The Big C, The Blacklist, Horace and Pete and The Good Fight and in such films as Manhattan Murder Mystery, Everyone Says I Love You, The Object of My Affection, The Aviator, Tower Heist and Bridge of Spies. Alda will next be seen in an untitled Noah Baumbach project starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. In addition to his six Emmys, he has earned six Golden Globes, an Oscar nomination, three Tony nominations and four SAG Award nomiations, and is one of only six people to have received Oscar, Tony and Emmy nominations in the same year.
The SAG Life Achievement Award is given to an actor who fosters the finest ideals of the profession.
“It is an honor and privilege to announce that our SAG Life Achievement Award will be presented to the fabulous Alan Alda,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said Thursday in a statement. “He is an artist whose body of work is a testament to the craft and the magic of our business. His ability to make us laugh, to think and to feel is extraordinary. From theater to television, movies, and new media Alan’s dedication and talent are exceeded only by his contributions to a just and caring society.”
He joins past recipients including Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Debbie Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Ernest Borgnine and Betty White.
Alda recently revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three and a half years ago.
“I’ve had a full life since then,” he said when he made the announcement on CBS This Morning. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast. And I noticed that — I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast — and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots, and I thought, it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am.”
Alda, 82, revealed that he asked for a scan after reading an article that acting out your dreams, something he was doing, could be a very early symptom of the disease. Months later, he noticed the twitch in his thumb.
“Not to shortchange people who are suffering with really severe symptoms,” he said, “but in the very beginning to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you — it hasn’t happened to you. There are still things you can do.”
Alda added, “It’s like a puzzle to be solved. What do I have to adapt to to carry on a normal life? … It’s a challenge. People have all kinds of things.”
Alda stressed that he doesn’t feel like he’s been held back by the disease, explaining that since his diagnosis, in addition to acting, he’s taken up boxing and tennis.
“It hasn’t stopped my life at all,” Alda said. “I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day