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'M*A*S*H' Star Alan Alda Reveals He's Been Silently Battling Parkinson's Disease

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Famed actor and writer Alan Alda has revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease.

The 82-year-old appeared on “CBS This Morning” on July 31 to talk about his diagnosis, and why he’s chosen to go public about it.

Alda is perhaps best known for his role as Army Capt. “Hawkeye” Pierce in the TV series “M*A*S*H,” which ran from 1972 to 1983.

Alda said he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three-and-a-half years ago, but his pace of life hasn’t slowed, and his attitude has not soured.

“I’ve had a full life since then,” he said.  “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook.”

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The award-winning actor has even launched a podcast called Clear+Vivid, which explores the topic of human communication.

The new podcast led to multiple TV appearances, and Alda figured it was only a matter of time before someone noticed the slight twitches of his body.

“I could see my thumb twitch in some shots and I thought, it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am,” Alda said.

Alda said he sought a diagnosis when he started to experience one of the early signs of Parkinson’s — acting out dreams.

“I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them,” he said. “But what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife.”

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Since the diagnosis, Alda has focused on what he can control, like staying active. He has decided not to spend time worrying about the aspects of the disease he cannot control.

“I’m not going to worry,” he said. “While I’m trying to say something else, I’m not going to be thinking, is my thumb on a life of its own? You know, that’s just one of the realities of my life.”

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Alda said he wanted to go public about his diagnosis as a way to encourage others to take action. “If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!” he said on Twitter.

In addition to his weekly boxing and tennis playing, Alda is focused on his podcast and is even doing some acting. He hopes to use his platform to help ease other’s fears, and encourage them to keep living life.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Birthplace
Page, Arizona
Education
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Lifestyle & Human Interest




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