1     



Alan Alda

  • American actor
  • Born January 28, 1936

Alan Alda (; born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo; January 28, 1936) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, comedian and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he played Hawkeye Pierce in the war television series M*A*S*H (1972–1983). He has also appeared on television programs such as Scientific American Frontiers, The West Wing, and 30 Rock, and in films such as Same Time, Next Year (1978) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). He also experienced success as a director with 1981's The Four Seasons.


I found I wasn't asking good enough questions because I assumed I knew something. I would box them into a corner with a badly formed question, and they didn't know how to get out of it. Now, I let them take me through it step by step, and I listen.




Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in while, or the light won't come in.




What's funny is that you can think you really value your life until you almost lose it.




I'm greedy for that satisfaction of doing something hard and knowing that, even though I was afraid I couldn't do it, that somehow I can deliver.




Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.




You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.




In the midst of the sense of tragedy or loss, sometimes laughter is not only healing, it's a way of experiencing the person that you've lost again.




I was brought up as a Catholic, and I'm no longer a Catholic. I don't talk about my beliefs too much in public probably because I feel very strongly that it's something personal - more than personal, it's private.




When I was about ten years old, I gave my teacher an April Fool's sandwich, which had a dead goldfish in it.




Awards shows mainly publicize the people giving the awards.




The meaning of life is life.




It's very important for us to see that science is done by people, not just brains but whole human beings, and sometimes at great cost.




I had never really wanted to be famous. Everyone is supposed to want to be rich and famous, but as a boy I never knew what rich was, and the first view I had of famous made me leery.




It's too bad I'm not as wonderful a person as people say I am, because the world could use a few people like that.




Achingly funny as it was, Larry Gelbart's writing gave off sparks that turned a hard light on the way we are.




Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart.




If scientists can't communicate with the public, with policy makers, with one another, the future is going to be held back. We're not going to have the future that we could have.




I'm in the real world, some people try to steal from me, and I stop them, frequently, take them to court. I love a good lawsuit. It's fun.




No, I never thought about my image. It interests me that there are people who do, that they seem to be methodical about it.




You can't be aware of everything. You'd fall down the stairs if you were aware of every intricate thing involved in going down stairs.




A really great actor, in a lucky performance, can transform himself or herself. I've seen actors do that. But often it's a mechanical transformation, which isn't as interesting, and you've got to be careful how you go about something like that, I think.




The hardest thing for me about making movies, and that included 'M*A*S*H' because it was made like a movie, was starting and stopping.




Backstage life is terrific training for an actor, seeing shows from the wings.




Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you.




What heartens me is to see '30 Rock' on the air. It makes me laugh from my gut, which I really like to do.




Usually, comedy shows only influence other comedy shows. 'M*A*S*H' is one of the few comedies that influenced dramatic shows as well.




Laugh at yourself, but don't ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don't leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.




If two scientists are giving their papers at a symposium, and one of them is just naturally better at talking to the public or talking to a group of people, that scientist is liable to get more attention - in fact, I'm told that they do get more attention - than the one who's a little more stiff about it. Well, that's not good for science.




'Never Have Your Dog Stuffed' is really advice to myself, a reminder to myself not to avoid change or uncertainty, but to go with it, to surf into change.




It isn't necessary to be rich and famous to be happy. It's only necessary to be rich.




I've been lucky enough to live through all the things that are supposed to give meaning to our lives, like parenting, grandparenting, art, celebrity. All these things you expect meaning to come from, and sometimes it comes when you're not expecting it.




Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old you are.




I think it's important for scientists to speak in their own voices and not just be mediated by journalists or others speaking for them.




I wouldn't live in California. All that sun makes you sterile.




When does she do all this thinking? We're together all the time but she thinks deeply about things and with feeling and she can remember the facts. We've been married 48 years.




The whole question of fiduciary responsibility is a very old concept. You could make a movie about someone making that rule at any point in history, and within a few months, it will turn out to be timely.



1