"Our first residence was so small,” Alan Alda remembered.
Alan Alda, 87, is well-known to fans for playing Hawkeye Pierce in the hit war drama M*A*S*H. But to his family, the six-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner is a devoted husband and a doting father to three daughters. Alda was 21 when he got married to Arlene, and they had kids right away. After that, the actor said it took him about nine years to start providing for his family with a decent living. “I was married when I was 21 and almost immediately had three children. It was a good nine years or so before I made any kind of living. There were times I just couldn’t afford to drink a can of beer at dinner – and the cheapest beer was only around $1 for six cans, but I still had to ration them,” he told Reuters.
"I drove a cab, mostly for myself, sold mutual funds, and worked as a doorman to pay the rent. Our first residence was so small,” he told the news outlet in an exclusive interview about the struggles he faced initially. Arlene Alda, who the actor has been married to for more than 60 years, spoke to The Washington Post about everything she had taught him. She inspired the actor to read the newspaper and give issues more thought. In addition, even when their financial situation was difficult, she never pressed him to find a better job.
Instead, she stood by him wholeheartedly, advised him to uphold his morals, and was present when their situation started to improve. She is "the soul of my soul," Alda said of her. For a long time, as they both struggled to establish themselves in the entertainment industry, their financial situation was terrible. In 2018, Alan Alda announced that he had received a Parkinson's disease diagnosis during his appearance on CBS Mornings. He did, however, speak of his "full life." Moreover, the actor had launched a brand-new podcast and was actively promoting it on talk shows.
I decided to let people know I have Parkinson’s to encourage others to take action. I was Diagnosed 3 and a half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!— Alan Alda (@alanalda) July 31, 2018
He decided to share his diagnosis because he knew someone would find out. Because that's not how he saw it, he didn't want anyone to hear about his condition from a "sad point of view." The actor admitted that he had already had a suspicion about the diagnosis when questioned about it. "I decided to let people know I have Parkinson’s to encourage others to take action. I was diagnosed three and a half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!" he wrote on Twitter informing his fans about his condition.
Talking about family values and being close to his daughters and grandchildren, the actor said, “I have three daughters and eight grandkids, and a lot of us have improvised together. I love that they have an interest in it because it certainly changed my life. Improvising is life-changing because it makes you a different person, a better person. It puts you in touch with your creativity, and you begin to trust yourself more and censor yourself less. Most importantly, you have to listen to the other person – it’s not just about you.”
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Dia Dipasupil