Alan Alda was voted the ladies' choice in 1979

Almost half of women polled couldn't get enough of Hawkeye or the actor who played him.

The Everett Collection

In a fifth-season episode of Night Court, Christine receives a delivery of a calendar she's been eagerly awaiting: her "Sensitive Guys" calendar. "Twelve months of respect!" The very first page she flips to, noted approvingly by Roz? "Alan Alda."

While this episode came out in 1988, Alan Alda had been a heartthrob for women around the nation for quite some time before that, partly due to his understanding and, yes, "sensitive" nature off-camera.

A 1979 national poll conducted by telephone and published in Kenosha News asked women which performers they would most like to see in a movie. At this time M*A*S*H was entering its eighth season and Alda was just stepping out into the film scene. He had charmed on The Carol Burnett Show and had participated in the massively successful children's record and the follow-up television special Free to Be... You and Me, along with the likes of Carol Channing and Mel Brooks.

The Alda fever was alive and well in 1979. "Nearly half of all participants — 46 percent — picked Alan Alda, while the next closest — but far behind — were John Travolta... and Henry Winkler."

It wasn't restricted to adults, either. In the same year, The Tampa Bay Times interviewed a panel of teenagers on their TV habits. The moderator asked about their favorite celebrities and the characters they played. "Alan Alda is my favorite," said 18-year-old Ellen. "I've been watching M*A*S*H for a long time and he is so consistently good. He seems to be the character that he plays. I think he is probably like Hawkeye in real life, and this comes across."

"Alda writes a lot of the scripts, too," added 17-year-old Gina. (Another girl, 17-year-old Lee Ann, said that she instead liked Jamie Farr as Klinger, admiring his "determination." Other teen TV faves included Carol Burnett, Robin Williams and Carroll O'Connor.)

Perhaps an opinion column from Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate put it best when the writer wrote, tongue-in-cheek, "women no more want to hear anything bad about Alan Alda than they once wanted to know that there was no Santa Claus."


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50 Comments

DeborahRoberts 5 months ago
He was an outspoken advocate for women's rights, which made him one of the famous men my then 19-year-old self most admired. As for attraction, I adored Robert Redford.
Moody 13 months ago
Of course he was appealing to women. He's Italian! 😂
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Moody Coldnorth 12 months ago
That's ok I appreciate your support. I am Italian from both sides of my family & I married an Italian woman. Italian food is the best!
Coldnorth Moody 12 months ago
That is theeeee truth. Have you had bunya calda? Spelling phonetic. I has butter, anchovies, and heavy cream and other stuff made into s sauce that I pour over lettuce. An Italian dish I love
Moody Coldnorth 12 months ago
I believe you're referring to bagna cauda which is a northern Italian dish. I've never had it to be honest but I have heard of it. My family is from southern Italy which has a completely different food than the north & I grew up eating more traditional Neopolitan foods. My wife is from northeastern Italy & she has had it but isn't too fond of it. A lot of the food she grew up eating has Austrian & Slovenian influences, among others. Still very good food though. Thanks for sharing!
Coldnorth Moody 12 months ago
I knew I spelled it wrong, thanks for spelling it for me. It’s probably an acquired taste but I just love it. It’s funny that Italys taste in food is so different. I like the pasta half of the country. Wish I would have asked my late mother in law more about Italian food etc. anyway thanks for the reply
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MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
Yes I would be interested to know who would win too.
Andybandit 13 months ago
Alan Alda was a good looking guy on MASH.
MrsPhilHarris 13 months ago
I’m sure he is a lovely person but I can’t imagine my 18 year old self having any interest in Alan Alda.
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Coldnorth KJExpress 13 months ago
Does anyone remember the name of the grandfather clock on Captain Kangaroo. I can’t remember
KJExpress Coldnorth 13 months ago
They would wake it up by saying "Grandfather," so I think that's what it was called. My grandparents had a grandfather clock and I was afraid to walk by it. I was very young and I guess I thought it would speak to me. Lol. It also had a deep "bong" sound which further frightened me. I would love to have a clock like that now, though.
Coldnorth KJExpress 13 months ago
I HATE coo coo clocks. Talk about annoying. Especially at 10:00 thru midnight. Could take his tonsils out thru his belly button. My aunt had one and when we visited, I had to sleep on the couch right under said coo coo.PHEW! Maybe a little ptsd. Lol
KJExpress Coldnorth 13 months ago
We had one of those when I was a kid. Half the time we didn't have it running. Our clock had a little clip to keep cuckoo's door shut so he couldn't come out. 🤪
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