Is it True That Alan Alda Couldn’t Commit to M*A*S*H Because He Was in Prison?

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Is it True That Alan Alda Couldn’t Commit to M*A*S*H Because He Was in Prison?
Is it True That Alan Alda Couldn’t Commit to M*A*S*H Because He Was in Prison?

credit: @thealanalda

When you hear the name Alan Alda, what springs to mind? Perhaps his iconic role on the hit show M*A*S*H? Do you think of his five-decade friendship with former co-star Mike Farrell? Perhaps one of his many other roles comes to mind. Whatever you think of when you hear Alda’s name, we’re willing to assume you don’t associate Alan Alda with the Utah State Prison. Now you will, though. We could share many things about the star – and we will share some fun facts about him here – but the fact that he was in prison is probably the one fact you didn’t know.

Alan Alda Almost Didn’t Get to Film M*A*S*H Because He Was in Prison

I’ll give you a moment to remove your jaw from the floor. Alan Alda was in prison when the pilot for the show came in. He was in the Utah State Prison, and it resulted in him not being able to sign on to do the show until the very day the rehearsals began. Now we get to the fine print – he wasn’t in prison because he was sentenced to prison. He was filming a movie, and it just so happened to be in the Utah State Prison. He couldn’t get the script because not just anyone can waltz into a prison to deliver your mail. The movie he was filming at the time was called Glass House.

Is it True That Alan Alda Couldn’t Commit to M*A*S*H Because He Was in Prison?

credit: M*A*S*H

Alan Alda Had Very Specific Requests Before He Signed on to M*A*S*H

For a guy who was offered a role in a pilot he wasn’t able to discuss until six hours before rehearsals began, he had some demands. Of course, he’s Alan Alda. The show waited on him to accept the role. He did not want to sign on to star in the show without first speaking to those in charge. He had some requests, but we don’t know what those requests were. What we do know, though, is that the rumor he required one surgery scene – minimum – per episode is false. He calls this an internet rumor and nothing more.

Filming Four Seasons of M*A*S*H Was Difficult

The show was filmed for approximately four months of the year, and he didn’t want to uproot his family. They lived in New Jersey, and his kids were in school. He would fly to California to film and come home to his family. He said jet lag was his way of life for about four years. Finally, his kids were old enough to stay home when he filmed, and his wife would visit with him, so he didn’t have to commute across the country so much.

Alan Alda Chooses Roles He Questions

He is one of the most brilliant actors in the world, and he has a specific way of choosing his roles. He won’t choose it if he knows he can do it. His preferred method is to read a script and wonder how on earth he will make a character work. If he isn’t sure, he is going to accept the role. Why? Because you can’t play the same character time and again and call it a career. Perhaps this is the reason he’s one of the most brilliant actors in the world.

Alan Alda Had a Very Famous Neighbor

Alda and his wife, Arlene, live in a gorgeous building on 67th Street in New York City. They’ve been steadily adding square footage to their home over the years by purchasing adjoining units when they are for sale. For many years, Alda was the subject of many early morning conversations thanks to none other than the late, great Regis Philbin. He and his wife, Joy, lived in the same building. Regis would regale his audience with stories of living next to the famous Alda, running into him in the elevator and jokingly asking Alda if he knows who Regis is. It seemed that the two shared a good friendship and neighborly time together, too, as Alda was in the audience for the talk show host’s final show with Kelly Ripa. It was always entertaining to listen to Regis describe living next door to someone so famous as if he was a regular guy.

Is it True That Alan Alda Couldn’t Commit to M*A*S*H Because He Was in Prison?

credit: M*A*S*H

Alan Alda is Obsessive

Not in such a way that he has to have help for his obsessions, but in a slightly different manner. When he’s working on something, he finds that he cannot put his all into it if he is not obsessive. As a result, he finds that working on something obsessively is how he gets things done. If he’s not obsessed with it, he’s unlikely to finish it and follow through. Honestly, Alan Alda, I feel that one. If it’s not an obsession, it’s not happening.

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