The unforgettable Hawkeye from M*A*S*H started out as a kid in a cabaret

The unforgettable Hawkeye from M*A*S*H started out as a kid in a cabaret

Who doesn't know the M*A*S*H series about doctors on the front lines of the Korean War? The iconic series was most served by its star Alan Alda, who portrayed the role of the iconic Benjamin Franklin Pierce, or Hawkeye.


But Alda's journey as an actor has not been a bed of roses. As a young child, he got his start in cabaret…

Author: Michal Cemper

The beginnings of a young actor

Alan Alda was born in 1936 into the family of cabaret performer Robert Alda and revue dancer Joan Brown. Both spouses performed in the same cabaret, and so Alan Alda refers to his childhood as "an environment full of naked butts and breasts."

At the age of seven, Alda was stricken with cerebral palsy. An experimental treatment cured him of it, and the young talent returned to the ranks of his peers. But he says he was better off in the company of adult actors.

After studying at Fordham University and the Sorbonne, he married clarinetist Arlene Weiss. The newlyweds lived together in Manhattan, and Alda, following his father's example, devoted himself fully to acting.

From the theatre to the television screen

Alda landed his first role on Broadway in Time Will Take It All. Although he had only a few barking moments there, critics began to write about him as a rising star. After his first roles, his career took off and Alda turned his attention to television.

His most famous role was offered to him by producer Gene Reynolds. Alda initially showed no interest in the role of the war surgeon and was not fully decided whether he would accept it the day before filming. Eventually, however, he succumbed and began his illustrious career.

Could someone turn down the war for Frank?

The first flap of M*A*S*H came down in 1972. But the first season was met with a lukewarm reception. Some critics even called it the biggest disappointment of the television season.

But the creators, which included Alda during the filming, did not give up their efforts. During the airing of the second season, critics took back their words and praised the series to the skies.

Alda became the engine of the series. He functioned as director, writer and lead actor and it was he who announced the last episode titled Goodbye, Goodbye and Amen to the viewers in 1982.

It is therefore no surprise that the last face on screen was Aldo's.

The charismatic actor is still filming to this day

After filming ended, Alda returned to the theatre and took up screenwriting and directing. Outside of that, he struck up a collaboration with Woody Allen and worked on changing his character from a comedian to a performer of serious roles.

Alan Alda continues to appear in films today at the age of 86. The last time was in the family drama Married Story and according to his words, he has no intention of quitting acting.



In the Czech version...

Czech viewers know Hawkey with the unforgettable speech of Pavel Trávníček. Under the direction of director Petr Svoboda, he voiced Alda in all the episodes.

Also, they were the only ones in the whole world who decided to remove the background laugh.