Alan Alda has revealed that he has Parkinson’s disease. Appearing on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, the M*A*S*H actor explained that he was diagnosed with the illness three and a half years ago.
“I’ve had a full life since then,” he said. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast. And I noticed that – I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast – and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots, and I thought, it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am.”
Alda, 82, revealed that he asked for a scan after reading an article that acting out your dreams, something he was doing, could be a very early symptom of the disease. Months later, he noticed the twitch in his thumb.
“Not to shortchange people who are suffering with really severe symptoms,” he said, “but in the very beginning to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you – it hasn’t happened to you. There are still things you can do.”
He added, “It’s like a puzzle to be solved. What do I have to adapt to to carry on a normal life? … It’s a challenge. People have all kinds of things.”
On CBS This Morning, Alda stressed that he doesn’t feel like he’s been held back by the disease, explaining that since his diagnosis, in addition to acting, he’s taken up boxing and tennis.
“It hasn’t stopped my life at all,” he said. “I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”