Alan Alda barely talked about himself or his 60-year career as he was honored for a lifetime of acting at the 25th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night, instead giving tribute to the craft of acting itself, and its power.
“This comes at a time when I’ve had a chance to look back on my life, and to see what it’s meant to be an actor,” an emotional Alda said after receiving the SAG Life Achievement Award and getting a long standing ovation from his fellow performers at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. “I see more than ever now, how proud I am to be a part of our brotherhood and sisterhood.”
Alda, 83, best known by far for his 11 seasons as Hawkeye Pierce on “M.A.S.H” from 1972 to 1983, has continued to work despite a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and said it’s a more vital time than ever to be acting, with its search “to see life through another person’s point of view.”
“It may never have been more urgent to see the world through another person’s eyes when a culture is divided so sharply,” Alda said. “Actors can help, at least a little, just by doing what we do.”
Tom Hanks presented the award to Alda, calling him Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo, the name he was given when he was born the son of an actor in the Bronx in 1936.
“For decades, for a lifetime, we have been lucky enough to watch Mr. D’Abruzzo perform his craft,” Hanks said, pointing out that Alda was in the nation’s living rooms on “M.A.S.H” for nine years longer than the Korean War in which it was set.
Hanks praised Alda’s decades of philanthropy and love of science and learning before introducing clips from Alda’s career, which included his roles in the films “Same Time, Next Year” and “The Aviator,” and the TV shows “The West Wing,” ”ER,” and “The Blacklist,” along with a long montage from “M.A.S.H.”
Alda was nominated for an Academy Award for “The Aviator,” and won six Emmy Awards and six Golden Globes.
He ended his brief speech by shifting from the power of acting to its joy.
“The nice part is it’s fun to do it,” Alda said. “So my wish for all of us is, let’s stay playful, let’s have fun and let’s keep searching. It can’t solve everything but it wouldn’t hurt.”