South O’ the Highway

Alan Alda Receives Lifetime Achievement Award, Talks M*A*S*H Reunion

He couldn't of asked for a better birthday gift.

On January 27, one day before his 83rd birthday, Water Mill actor Alan Alda was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards by his Bridge of Spies co-star Tom Hanks.

Hanks listed out Alda’s numerous achievements, beginning with changing his name from Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo, and including his Broadway credits, memoirs, philanthropy and wildly successful 11-year run as Hawkeye Pierce on the comedy M*A*S*H—the witty, groundbreaking show that earned him Emmy Awards for writing, acting and directing.

He concluded with a wise quote from Alda: “These days, to act anything—from farce to low comedy, from Oedipus Rex to Shakespeare and modern drama—you cannot be too one-sided or only half experienced.” It was a touching introduction for Alda, one he wasn’t expecting. He told TNT during a pre-show silver carpet interview that he’s so honored to be selected that he’d be satisfied if Hanks got onstage and simply said, “Here he is.” He added, “I was nominated for an Oscar 10 or 12 years ago…even that night, I wasn’t as excited as I am today.”

Alda was greeted with an overwhelming standing ovation when he made his way onstage, with the classic M*A*S*H theme playing overhead. After jokingly motioning to his watch, signaling the audience to wrap up their applause, he explained that he’s at a point of reflection in his life, particularly in terms of what being an actor has meant to him over the years. “I see more than ever now, how proud I am to be a member of our brotherhood and sisterhood of actors,” he said. “When we get a chance to act, it’s our job, at least in part, to get inside a character’s head and to search for a way to see a life from that person’s point of view. Another person’s vision of the world and then to let an audience experience that.”

While the chances of a M*A*S*H revival are slim to none, Alda told Extra that he recently hosted his own reunion of sorts on his podcast Clear + Vivid. As part of an upcoming extra special episode, he called up his former castmates from across the country to spend an hour reminiscing about the show and their lifelong friendship. Although, his friends tease him for having a podcast, saying that it qualifies him as the world’s oldest millennial.

On January 21, Alda tweeted a photo of himself with Gary Burghoff that read, “I think the podcast we recorded about our days in M*A*S*H has brought us even closer together. Gary just sent me a picture of us I’d never seen before. Makes me very happy. You can be happy too.” Fans can listen in on February 5.

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