On this day 80 years ago, Alan Alda was born in New York City as Alphonso D’Abruzzo. Best known for his role as Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the popular TV series M*A*S*H (1972-83), the actor is also a director, screenwriter, author, and six-time Emmy and Golden Globe winner–with 31 Emmy Award (and two Tony) nominations. He has been married to his wife Arlene since 1957. (1936)
Alda’s prominence in the enormously successful M*A*S*H years gave him a platform to speak out on political topics, and he has been an active supporter of women’s rights and the feminist movement. Alda has done extensive charity work (St. Jude’s) and been engaged in scientific pursuits, using his communication strengths to help scientists, work with universities and host a PBS show, Scientific American Frontiers. (Learn more here)
In the last decade, he has published two memoirs, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: and Other Things I’ve Learned, and Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.
(WATCH a clip from M*A*S*H)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Warsaw Confederation sanctioned religious freedomin Poland (1573)
- Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first published — with its first print run selling out at about 1,500 copies (1813)
- The world’s largest snowflakes fell in Fort Keogh, Montana, reported to be 15 inches (38 cm) wide (1887)
- A Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was added beneath the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to honor the unknown dead of World War I (1921)
- Iceland became the first country to legalize abortion (1935)
- Italian police rescued a U.S. General after 42 days as hostage of Red Brigade (1982)
Also on this day in 1985, a group of American performers recorded the charity song, We Are the World, to raise money for famine relief. Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, the song became the fastest-selling American pop single in history, and sold over 20 million copies. It also raised over $63M for humanitarian aid.
In all, more than 45 of America’s top musicians participated in the USA for Africa recording, including Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry and Daryl Hall. The song eventually became the biggest selling single in both US and pop music history.