Revered actor Alan Alda, 82, reveals he has Parkinson’s disease 

Emmy award-winning actor Alan Alda has revealed he has Parkinson’s disease.

The 82-year-old, who played doctor Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H and presidential contender Arnold Vanick in West Wing, was diagnosed three years ago, he told interviewers on CBS This Morning.

‘I was diagnosed three-and-a-half years ago and 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’ve started this new podcast.’

Aside from a ‘thumb twitch’, he has not yet shown any symptoms. 

But, he says, he decided it was time to share his diagnosis because, ‘I thought it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad… point of view, which is not where I am.’

Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people; around one million Americans currently live with the condition.

It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.

It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.

Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.

There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but scores of scientific trials are underway to try and change that. 

Alda has been married to his wife Arlene, a photographer, for 61 years; they have three children together. 

Life has always been creative for Alda. His mother, Joan, was a showgirl, and his father, Robert, was an esteemed theater and film actor, who later in his career made a couple of guest appearances alongside him on M*A*S*H. Alan’s brother, Antony, was also an actor, on stage, film and TV, before his early death in 2009 due to cirrhosis at the age of 52.