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|Also Known As:||Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo||Died:|
|Born:||January 28, 1936||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||New York City, New York, USA||Profession:||actor, screenwriter, director, gas station clown, cab driver|
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
in 1983, Alda tried to revamp "The Four Seasons" (CBS, 1983-84) for television, which failed to catch on with audiences, leading to an abbreviated first season. Returning to the big screen, Alda directed his second feature, "Sweet Liberty" (1986), a light satirical comedy about a college professor (Alda) whose historical novel about the American Revolution gets the Hollywood treatment, much to his dismay and frustration. He next directed "A New Life" (1988) and played a recent divorcee who finds new love with a younger doctor (Veronica Hamel), while his ex-wife (Ann-Margret) falls in and out with a sculptor (John Shea). Veering from his nice guy image, Alda received rave reviews for his performance as a sleazy, egotistical television director in Woody Allen's masterpiece, "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989).After directing and starring in "Betsy's Wedding" (1990), a mediocre family comedy about a middle class father (Alda) forced to ask his mobster brother-in-law (Joe Pesci) to help pay for his daughter's overblown wedding, Alda retreated from directing features to focus squarely on acting, though his capacity as a leading man was diminished by the 1990s. His work on stage also continued, notably as...
in 1983, Alda tried to revamp "The Four Seasons" (CBS, 1983-84) for television, which failed to catch on with audiences, leading to an abbreviated first season. Returning to the big screen, Alda directed his second feature, "Sweet Liberty" (1986), a light satirical comedy about a college professor (Alda) whose historical novel about the American Revolution gets the Hollywood treatment, much to his dismay and frustration. He next directed "A New Life" (1988) and played a recent divorcee who finds new love with a younger doctor (Veronica Hamel), while his ex-wife (Ann-Margret) falls in and out with a sculptor (John Shea). Veering from his nice guy image, Alda received rave reviews for his performance as a sleazy, egotistical television director in Woody Allen's masterpiece, "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989).
After directing and starring in "Betsy's Wedding" (1990), a mediocre family comedy about a middle class father (Alda) forced to ask his mobster brother-in-law (Joe Pesci) to help pay for his daughter's overblown wedding, Alda retreated from directing features to focus squarely on acting, though his capacity as a leading man was diminished by the 1990s. His work on stage also continued, notably as the star of Neil Simon's mild farce "Jake's Women" (1992), a role which earned him a Tony Award nomination, and which he later recreated for the 1996 television adaptation. Meanwhile, he gave another strong performance as an unsympathetic character, playing controversial National Institute of Health official Dr. Robert Gallo in acclaimed expose of the AIDS crisis, "And the Band Played On" (HBO, 1993), for which he earned an Emmy nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special. Following another collaboration with Woody Allen on "Manhattan Murder Mystery" (1993), he played an unrepentant advertising executive responsible for five deaths on a white-water rafting expedition in "White Mile" (HBO, 1994). After a forgettable turn in "Canadian Bacon" (1995), playing the bumbling President of the United States who starts a new Cold War with Canada, Alda received more kudos for his pairing with Lily Tomlin as the aging hippie parents of Ben Stiller in David O Russell's comedy, "Flirting With Disaster" (1996).
By the second half of the 1990s, Alda had become secure playing a variety of supporting roles, while allowing other younger actors to take the lead. He once again joined forces with Woody Allen to co-star in the director's musical romantic comedy, "Everyone Says I Love You" (1997). In "Murder at 1600" (1997), an ill-received political thriller involving murder at the White House, Alda played Alvin Jordan, a benevolent National Security Advisor who helps a Washington D.C. detective (Wesley Snipes) investigate the case when no one else will. As television news anchor Kevin Hollander in "Mad City" (1997), Alda aided the firing of an investigative journalist (Dustin Hoffman) from the network after an altercation. He then appeared as literary agent Sidney Miller in the Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy "The Object of My Affection" (1998), directed by Nicholas Hytner. After playing Mel Gibson's boss in the box office hit "What Women Want" (2000), he returned to television and earned more Emmy nominations â¿¿ his 29th and 30th â¿¿ for a recurring role as a prominent physician in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease on "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) and as a hard-nosed talent agent in Showtime's "Club Land" (2001).
Back on the big screen, Alda shined opposite Leonard DiCaprio in "The Aviator" (2004), Martin Scorsese's epic biography about Howard Hughes (DiCaprio). Alda played Ralph Owen Brewster, the bought-and-sold chairman of a Senate committee dedicated to publicly ruining the maverick airline tycoon. Going against his nice guy persona, Alda played the corrupt Senator with typical charm and ease, earning the praise of critics and a nomination for an Academy Award. That same year, he joined the cast of "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006) playing the former Republican senator of California and presidential candidate, Arnold Vinick, who ran against and lost to Democratic congressman Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits). Alda was nominated for two Emmy awards for his portrayal of the so-called maverick Republican, earning a statue for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2006.
In a return to the stage, Alda delivered a Tony Award-caliber performance in a Broadway revival of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross," playing down-and-out salesman Shelley "The Machine" Levene. In "Resurrecting the Champ" (2007), Alda played a stubborn newspaper editor who refuses to take a struggling reporter (Josh Hartnett) off the boxing beat, then starred opposite Matthew Broderick in the independent comedy about memory loss, "Diminished Capacity" (2008). On the small screen, he earned an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of Jack Donaghy's (Alec Baldwin) ailing biological father in the season three finale of "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006-2013). Back in features, Alda played a scheming billionaire who becomes the target of revenge by a motley crew of apartment building employees in the caper comedy from Brett Ratner "Tower Heist" (2011). That same year, he had a widely praised guest starring role on "The Big C" (Showtime, 2010- ), playing a doctor with a new method of treatment Cathy (Laura Linney) hopes to use. man of conscience and morality in a world gone insane, reflecting the political leanings of the actor, though some fans who loved the amiable goofball decried the change. The change was largely steered by Alda himself; over the years, he gained more and more control over the creative direction of the series as several writers and producers left. By the final season, Alda had become a writer and director, as well as the central star of the show, earning an astounding 21 Emmy nominations for all three categories. In the end, Alda won five Emmy Awards, becoming the only person ever to win for acting, writing and directing, and was the only series regular to appear in all 251 episodes. Perhaps most significantly, Alda directed the famed series finale, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," which lived on as the single-most watched episode in television history.
During his success on "M*A*S*H," Alda continued with outside projects, co-directing and co-starring opposite Carol Burnett in an adaptation of the Broadway comedy "6 Rms Riv Vu" (CBS, 1974), for which he earned an Emmy nod for his performance. Alda picked up yet another Emmy nomination, playing convicted killer Caryl Chessman in the made-for-television movie "Kill Me if You Can" (NBC, 1977). Back on the big screen, Alda starred in "Same Time, Next Year" (1978), a warm comedy-drama in which he played a married man who shares a weekend getaway once a year with a housewife (Ellen Burstyn) for a quarter century, through which the audience witnesses the ever-changing attitude of America. After appearing in the ensemble cast of the amusing Neil Simon comedy "California Suite" (1978), Alda made an assured feature screenwriting debut with " The Seduction of Joe Tynan " (1979), a political drama that featured Alda as the titular U.S. Senator juggling relationships with his Southern mistress (Meryl Streep) and his long-suffering wife (Barbara Harris). Though not as searing as other political films of the decade, "The Seduction of Joe Tynan" was nonetheless a well-intentioned indictment of a system gone wrong.
Throughout the 1980s, Alda wrote, directed and starred in a series of genteel comedies of variable quality which depicted the foibles of American bourgeois life, starting with "The Four Seasons" (1981), a bittersweet comedy-of-manners about the trials and tribulations of a group of middle-aged friends over the course of a year. Thanks to a strong ensemble cast that also included Carol Burnett, "The Four Seasons" was a commercial and critical success. After "M*A*S*H" took its final bow
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CAST: (feature film)
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Alda received the Ford Foundation Grant after college graduation which enabled Alda to perform with the Cleveland Playhouse (1958-59).
"Alan is a closet intellectual. He's a bright guy with a an inquiring mind." --"M*A*S*H*" co-star Wayne Rogers quoted in TV Guide, October 23, 1999.
Asked about a return to weekly series, Alda told Amy Amatanangelo of the Boston Herald (October 14, 1999): "Television has been kind and generous to me, but the idea of going in every day, it is hard to picture."
About writing, directing and starring in projects, Alda told Blake Green of Newsday (March 1, 1998): "... I wouldn't ever want to do all three of those things together again. I think I know better now. I probably shortchanged myself a couple of times. I think I began fooling myself in 'M*A*S*H*' [where he first tried his hand at wearing three caps]. The characters and the environment were already created. When you make a movie, you have to start from scratch, create a whole world."
"I'm very happy I've done something that gives people pleasure still after all these years. Not that they remember: that they still see it. But for me, as a personal experience for me, it's as though it happened to somebody else." --Alda to The New York Times, May 18, 1994.
"I was never comfortable being as famous as I was. ...
"I never was as wonderful a person as everybody said I was. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that it's too bad that I'm not as wonderful a person as people say I am, because the world could use a few good people like that." --Alan Alda quoted in The New York Times, May 18, 1994.
Received honorary degrees from Fordham University (1978); Drew University (1979); Columbia University (1979); Connecticut University (1980); and Kenyon College (1982).
On October 18, 2003, Alda underwent an emergency appendectomy, a day after checking into he Regional Hospital in La Serena, 300 miles north of the capital of Santiago, complaining of severe abdominal pains
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