Alan Alda briefly studied medicine years before he played surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H

That's Dr. Alan Alda, to you.

Would you trust your doctor if he was Alan Alda? For eleven seasons, viewers and on-screen patients alike put their faith in Hawkeye Pierce while he worked at the 4077th on M*A*S*H. While Hawkeye was quick-witted and at times juvenile, fans were never in doubt of his medical ability. We'll be honest, if we had Hawkeye Pierce at the helm of our next surgery, we feel that we'd be in good hands.

However, if our surgeon were Alan Alda, that'd be a different story. This universe is lucky enough to be able to enjoy Alan Alda the actor and director, but before all the fame and fortune, Alda was just a kid at school with vastly different career goals.

According to an interview with the Chicago Tribune, a young Alda, under the guidance of his father, actually began his college education by studying medicine, despite his own reservations. 

He said, "My father wanted me to study medicine, but I really wasn't all that interested. I took a premed course one summer, but I slept through most of my classes."

Luckily, Alda found guidance through one of his professors, who convinced him that it was time to change course and pursue something he was actually interested in. He said, "I got a very low score on the final. I remember an interview with the instructor, who looked at me over his glasses, my final exam in his hands, and said, 'Now why is it you took this course?'"

Luckily, Alda was far better at pretending to be a doctor than he was at actually being a doctor, so everything worked out for the best. Still, much like Hawkeye is passionate about his patients in spite of the circumstances he's in, Alan Alda holds a firm belief that work should be one of the top priorities in life.

The actor said, "To me, work is love. Work is at the heart of health...I think that love eventually becomes work, and work is not really satisfying unless it has in it some measure of love."

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2 Comments

Hockeymom4 3 months ago
I love Mash. Thank you for running the episodes in order. I was too young and self absorbed when it was a weekly show. I have a great appreciation for what all those who served during that war went through after watching it on MeTV
cperrynaples 3 months ago
Alda still thought he was a doctor! He wore scrubs in several commercials and worked with his co-stars on Diagnosis Murder, which once ran on MeTV!
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