Alan Alda On Parkinson’s Diagnosis: ‘It Hasn’t Stopped My Life At All’
Alan Alda revealed in an interview Tuesday morning that he has Parkinson’s disease, although he claims this diagnosis hasn’t prevented him from living a busy life.
Speaking on CBS This Morning, the 82-year-old actor said he learned he had the neurodegenerative disorder three and a half years ago, and that he is not “angry” about this.
“I’ve had a full life since [my diagnosis],” said Alda, who is best known for playing Hawkeye Pierce on the 1970s and 1980s comedy-drama series M*A*S*H. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science… It hasn’t stopped my life at all. I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”
Alda said one of the first symptoms of Parkinson’s he noticed was his thumb twitching, something he saw while watching videos of himself doing interviews.
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“I said, ‘I want to know if there’s anything I can do. I want to do it before things start to show up,’ ” he said. “You still have things you can do. I’m taking boxing lessons three times a week. I do singles tennis a couple of times a week.”
The actor went on to explain that Parkinson’s is a disease that takes many different forms and that each person who has it can have a unique experience. Alda also said he considers his affliction a challenge.
“What do I have to adapt to carry on a normal life?” he said. “I enjoy solving puzzles, it’s really fun. I’m not angry. It’s a challenge. You’ve got to cross the street, there are cars coming. How do you cross the street?… You find a way to do it.”
The actor added that around 1 million Americans suffer from Parkinson’s.
Alda last starred in the films The Longest Ride and Bridge of Spies (both 2015), and also appeared in the 2016 web series Horace and Pete and in two episodes of the 2018 legal drama The Good Fight.
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