Alan Alda honoured with lifetime achievement prize at SAG Awards

Alan Alda arrives at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 27,
Alan Alda arrives at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Hollywood heavyweight Alan Alda was visibly moved as he collected the life achievement award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs).

The award was presented to him by Tom Hanks, who told the crowd: “He has shown us all who we are and what we can be.”

Receiving a lengthy standing ovation, Alda said: “Oh my god look at you!

“It’s really hard to describe to you what it feels like to look out and see my fellow actors, my colleagues, my heroes, to welcome me up here like this, it’s an extraordinary feeling.

“This comes at a time when I’ve had a chance to look back on my life and think about what it means to be an actor and how proud I am to be part of our brotherhood of actors.”

He added: “It may never have been more urgent to see the world through another person’s eyes, when the culture is divided so sharply actors can help, just by doing what we do and the nice part is it’s fun to do it.

“So let’s stay playful, let’s have fun and let’s keep searching. It can’t solve everything but it wouldn’t hurt.”

25th Annual SAG Awards – Arrivals
Alan Alda arrives at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

An actor whose career has spanned seven decades, he shot to fame in the war comedy-drama M*A*S*H.

He played Hawkeye Pierce for 11 years in the series, one of the highest-rated shows in US television history.

Now the recipient of the Screen Actors Guild’s lifetime achievement award, Alda, born Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo, began his career in the 1950s as part of an improvisational comedy revue.

He made his Hollywood acting debut as a supporting player in Gone Are The Days! – a film version of the Broadway play Purlie Victorious, and in 1972 he joined the cast of M*A*S*H, a TV adaptation of the 1970 film of the same name.

He was the only series regular to appear in all 251 episodes and directed 32 of them.

He was also involved in writing 19 episodes, including the finale Goodbye, Farewell And Amen, which he also directed. It remains the single most-watched episode of any American broadcast network television series.

After the show ended he embarked on a career as a writer and director and enjoyed success with The Four Seasons, in which he also starred, and appeared in films including Manhattan Murder Mystery opposite Woody Allen, Diane Keaton and Anjelica Huston, Same Time, Next Year opposite Ellen Burstyn and Crimes And Misdemeanours, also starring and directed by Allen.

Later in his career he has played a string of politicians, including President of the United States in Michael Moore’s satire Canadian Bacon and Senator Arnold Vinick in The West Wing, for which he won an Emmy.

In 2004 he played Senator Owen Brewster in The Aviator, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

Alan Alda
Alan Alda at the 2005 Oscars (Ian West/PA)

More recently he made appearances in 30 Rock as Milton Greene, the biological father of Alec Baldwin’s character Jack Donaghy, The Big C, The Blacklist, Horace And Pete, The Good Fight and in Ray Donovan as Dr Arthur Amiot.

He also starred in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge Of Spies, opposite Tom Hanks and Sir Mark Rylance, who won an Oscar for his role as Rudolf Abel, and established his own podcast Clear + Vivid.

In July 2018, he appeared on US morning show CBS This Morning and announced he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years prior.

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