Alan Alda Says He Has Parkinson’s Disease 

July 31, 2018 / Posted by:

Alan Alda, shiny diamond of a human who is best known to most for that boring army show (don’t let my mom the M*A*S*H stan read that) but is best known to me for writing, directing, and starring in Betsy’s Wedding, announced on CBS This Morning today that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over three years ago. But Alan wants everyone to know that while many people with Parkinson’s suffer with seriously fucked-up symptoms that keep them from being active, he’s living his life without many issues, and has even taken up boxing. Pepaw Alda working up a sweat while beating up a punching bag is the unexpected tip-moistening image of the day for me.

Alan Alda was on CBS This Morning to promote his podcast Clear+Vivid, which gets into the ways humans communicate with each other, and said that he got tested for Parkinson’s after he acted out a dream and read that’s one of the early symptoms of the disease. He had a dream that someone was attacking him and he threw a sack of potatoes at them. Meanwhile, in real-life he was throwing a pillow at his sleeping wife. His wife later learned that he wasn’t trying to suffocate her in her sleep. He has Parkinson’s. Having Parkinson’s is a challenge for him and some days are worse than others, but he’s not angry and he’s not letting fear make him a prisoner.

“In the very beginning, to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you – it hasn’t happened to you. You still have things you can do. I’m taking boxing lessons three times a week. I do singles tennis a couple of times a week. I march to Sousa music because marching to music is good for Parkinson’s.”

He also decided to publicly talk about the disease, because he didn’t want some tabloid seeing his thumb twitch and turning it into a SCANDALOUS story from a sad point of view. That story would be false, because he’s not sad.

“I’m not going to worry. While I’m trying to say something else, I’m not going to be thinking, is my thumb on a life of its own. You know, that’s just one of the realities of my life. But I’ve acted in movies since –  it’s three-and-a-half years since I had the diagnosis and it hasn’t stopped my life at all. I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”

Here’s his interview on CBS This Morning:

He also joked about it on Twitter today:

So let’s see, Alan Alda is 82 years old and has Parkinson’s, yet he boxes three days a week, plays tennis twice a week, does his podcast, works regularly, and has a happy outlook on life. I am around half Alan Alda’s age, I don’t have Parkinson’s and yet I don’t box three days a week, I don’t play tennis twice a week, my podcast isn’t up yet, and I have a shitty outlook on life. Alan Alda can add “being a grade A bragger” to all the things he does to stay active, because damn, Alan Alda!


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