Did Alan Alda miss Hawkeye when M*A*S*H ended?

The answer is complicated!

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Think back on the last time you did something for eleven consecutive years. Even in the course of a long, healthy lifetime, eleven years is a considerable amount of time. Surely, the time and energy spent doing anything for that length of time would cause some sort of emotional connection with the task at hand.

While that may be true for the rest of us, initially Alan Alda was speechless when it came to the end of his run as Hawkeye Pierce on TV's M*A*S*H. It wasn't for lack of opportunity; by the time M*A*S*H wrapped production, it was one of the most successful shows of all time, and the television press was rabid for any factoid they could get from the show's star.

After M*A*S*H's conclusion, Alda was pressed for his feelings regarding whether he'd miss his most iconic character, Hawkeye Pierce. Initially he had four words on the matter for the Associated Press: "I don't think so."

Sometimes it takes some time to process an event as momentous as the conclusion of one's historically popular war show. After some careful consideration, Alda reapproached the question, mulling over the weight of the show's ending. His emotional connection to the show, according to him, is best symbolized by a pair of combat boots that Hawkeye wore. "I took the boots home with me, and I look at them and I get touched. There's something that I'll miss about that character."

"When I finished shooting, I really was churned up," Alda told the AP in February, 1983. "That's partly why it's been hard for me to find time to talk about it, because I really don't want to talk about it."

Regardless of his feelings for Hawkeye, one thing was immediately clear to Alda when M*A*S*H concluded: It would be quite some time before he committed to another long-running television series. 


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9 Comments

CoreyC 14 months ago
Eileen Saki the second Rosie has died at 79.
Rob CoreyC 14 months ago
I just heard about it. RIP Rosie!
kathleenreick 14 months ago
Great article. I believe Alan Alda having a rough time leaving. After having such a good role it must be hard to get into another character.
vonstockhoff 14 months ago
I watch MeTV because no new shows have even a ghost of a chance of touching people the way MASH, The Waltons, The Andy Griffith Show, Gunsmoke and so many others made you feel like you were actually part of the show. Can anyone think of any modern tv show that people will still be watching 50, 60 years from now? I can't. Watching MASH right now and no greater show was ever written I don't think.
MrsPhilHarris vonstockhoff 14 months ago
I don’t watch MASH anymore because it has been running for years on MeTV and I got tired of it, but I do watch TAGS. I don’t watch anything “new” but you bring up an interesting question. Will any shows from today be watched in 50, 60 years? Perhaps they will but they certainly don’t have the viewership that shows in the past had, so they wouldn’t have followers like TAGS, MASH, Perry Mason, etc.
CaptainDunsel vonstockhoff 14 months ago
What? You don't find lasting meaning and pathos in the deep emotional sincerity of "American Idol" or "Law&CSINCS:[Fill In The City]" !?
tootsieg vonstockhoff 14 months ago
I don’t watch anything “new” either. I can’t think of any show on today that will be watched 50-60 years from now. I can’t even imagine TV 50-60 years from
now. 😊
Runeshaper 14 months ago
I can understand how he felt. It was probably bitter sweet for Alda.
Coldnorth Runeshaper 13 months ago
Especially losing those big checks. I’m sure he does ok on residuals. Why would he miss the character
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