Alan Alda’s most recognized role was on the hit TV show M.A.S.H., which took place from 1972 – 1983. The show was an American comedy-drama that took place during the Korean War. He won several awards for his portrayal of American surgeon, Hawkeye Pierce on the well-known TV series.
In a recent interview with CBS, Alda revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over 3 years ago.
“The reason I want to talk about it in public is that I was diagnosed three and a half years ago and I’ve had a full life since then,” he said after revealing the news.
He’s not kidding. Alda says he’s has been staying active by still acting, giving talks and helping at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook.
According to USA Today, Alda said he decided to be upfront with his diagnosis after seeing his thumb twitch in recent TV interview.
“I thought, ‘It’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad turn point of view,’ but that’s not where I am.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects a person’s overall movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors and shakes are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.
A few other celebrities who have come out publicly with Parkinson’s are Neil Diamond, Michael J. Fox and Bob Hoskins.
Alda admits he caught the disease early on. One of the early symptoms for Parkinson’s is acting out your dreams in real life.
“I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them, but what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” he explained. “I didn’t have any (other) symptoms, the doctor said, ‘Why do you want a scan? You don’t have any symptoms,’ and I said, ‘I want to know if there’s any I can do, I want to do it before things start to show up.’ ”
“This is not to short-change people who are suffering with really severe symptoms,” he said. “But in the very beginning, to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you, it hasn’t happened to you, you still have things you can do.”
We admire Alan’s strength and how he is coping with his recent diagnoses. If you want to donate to Parkinson’s research, here is a great foundation to support The Michael J. Fox Foundation.