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Biography #2

Alan Alda has earned international recognition as an actor, writer and director. A graduate of Forham University, Alda was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves before becoming a member of the acting company at the Cleveland Playhouse on a grant from the Ford Foundation.

In 1961, Alda played the role of Charlie in Purlie Victorious on Broadway, a part he subsequently recreated on film. Alda was a member of the improvisational companies Second City in New York and Compass in Hyannisport, Massachusetts. At this time, he was also a cast member of the 1964 weekly satire series That Was the Week That Was on television.

While filming Truman Capote's prison drama The Glass House at the Utah State Prison, Alda read Larry Gelbart's script for a proposed television series based on Robert Altman's hit feature film, M*A*S*H, and thought it was the best pilot he had ever read. By the time M*A*S*H ended its 11-year run in January, 1983 with a two-hour episode directed by Alda, he had been honored by the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences with Emmys for acting, writing and directing: Alda is the only person to be honored in all three categories.

His other television credits include the widely acclaimed telefilm Kill Me If You Can, in which he played convicted Murder Caryl Chessman, a role that brought him an Emmy nomination. He starred with Carol Burnett in the television adaptation of the play 6 Rms Riv Vu, which he also directed. On hiatus from M*A*S*H, Alda created, wrote and co-produced the TV series We'll Get By.

In 1979, Alda wrote his first feature film screenplay, The Seduction of Joe Tynan, and starred in the movie with Barbara Harris and Meryl Streep, under the direction of Jerry Schatzberg. Two years later, Alda made his feature film directorial debut with his original screenplay, The Four Seasons, in which he co-starred with Carol Burnett, Jackson, Rita Moreno, Sandy Dennis and Len Cariou.

In 1985, Alda wrote, directed and acted in the comedy Sweet Liberty with Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Caine, which he followed with the 1988 film, A New Life, with the actor serving as a triple hyphenate with a cast that included Ann Margaret, John Shea and Veronica Hamel. Alda's numerous other feature film credits include Paper Lion, Same Time, Next Year, California Suite, Betsy's Wedding and, more recently, Canadian Bacon.

Alan Alda first collaborated with Woody Allen in 1989 in the film Crimes and Misdemeanors. He worked again with Allen on Manhattan Murder Mystery. Everyone Says I Love You reflects Alda's third film for Woody Allen.

In addition to four Emmy Awards, Alda has won two Writers Guild Awards, three Directors Guild Awards, six Golden Globes and seven People's Choice Awards.

updated 08-May-2002


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