Alan Alda Gives an Update on How He’s Doing with Parkinson’s: ‘Tying Shoelaces Can Be a Challenge’

The veteran actor looked back for the 50th anniversary of M*A*S*H — and its legacy

Veteran actor Alan Alda hasn’t slowed down since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015.

The actor, 86, reflected back at his reign on M*A*S*H, the comedy-drama series that followed a team of American doctors and support staff stationed in South Korea during the Korean War.

When the series’ last episode aired after eleven seasons, more than 100 million viewers tuned in, making it still the most-watched TV finale of all time.

In an email interview, Alda updated readers on his health and his post-M*A*S*H world — he now hosts the podcast Clear + Vivid — and how he hopes to be remembered as well.

How are you feeling healthwise? I’m feeling good and charging ahead. Doing everything I can to slow the progression of Parkinson’s, which really can be slowed with work.

What’s been the biggest challenge since your diagnosis? Tying shoelaces can be a challenge with stiff fingers. Think of playing the violin while wearing mittens. The silver lining is that I keep getting more confident that I can always find a workaround.

How has it changed the way you look at your life? I’m more convinced than ever that life is adapting, adjusting and revising.

What’s a typical day like for you now? A workout, preparing for my podcast, chasing the geese off my grass, playing chess with Arlene [his wife of 65 years] and bingeing on Scandinavian TV series. Pretty much what everyone does.

What makes you the happiest? Laughing with my wife.

Anything left on your bucket list? Kicking it.

How do you hope to be remembered? We can’t control how we’re remembered, so I don’t give it much thought. If I leave something behind that someone finds useful, that will be nice.

What are you most grateful for? Being here for a while.


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