Alan Alda revealed yesterday that he has Parkinson’s disease.
The 82 year old multi-Emmy Award winner, best known for his portrayal of Army Captain “Hawkeye” Pierce on M*A*S*H, told CBS News that he was diagnosed over three years ago, but has only decided to go public after seeing some progression of the disease’s effects lately. “I’ve had a full life since [the diagnosis],” he says. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook [University]. I started this new podcast. And I noticed that — I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast — and 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.”
NEW: Actor @AlanAlda just revealed he has Parkinson’s disease. The award-winning actor says he was diagnosed with the disease three and a half years ago.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) July 31, 2018
He followed up his announcement with a Twitter post, in which he indicated that part of his motivation for sharing the news is “to encourage others to take action.” He also wants people to know that they’re not immediately doomed if they receive this kind of news: “In the very beginning to be immobilized by fear and to think the worst thing has happened to you, it hasn’t happened to you. You still have things you can do,” he says. “Mostly everybody is different and each day is different from the next. One day you wake up and think, oh, it’s over, it’s gone, the next day it’s back and a little worse.”
I decided to let people know I have Parkinson’s to encourage others to take action. I was Diagnosed 3 and a half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving!
— Alan Alda (@alanalda) July 31, 2018