Revered actor Alan Alda made a heartbreaking confession on Tuesday, revealing he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The M*A*S*H star shared the news of his diagnosis on US show CBS This Morning, admitting he received the shocking news more than three years ago.
The 82-year-old, who played doctor Hawkeye Pierce in M*A*S*H and presidential contender Arnold Vanick in West Wing, told interviewers that he is yet to suffer any symptoms of the disease, except a slight thumb twitch.
“”I’m doing great. You might be surprised to hear that. 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.”
Read more: You couldn’t script the life of Alan Alda.
Alda went on to reveal that he first realised something might be wrong after he began acting out his dreams, leading him to ask his doctor for a scan which then led to his diagnosis.
“If you act out your dreams, there’s a good chance that might be a very early symptom… where nothing else shows,” he added. “By acting out your dreams, I mean I was having a dream where someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them, and what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife.”
Alda, who has been married to wife Arlene since 1957, noticed his first symptom, a thumb twitch, after watching back recent television interviews he’d given to promote his new podcast Clear + Vivid with Alan Alda.
He said: “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.
“This is a disease that’s different for almost everybody who has it. There are some common symptoms, but mostly everybody’s different and each day is different from the next.”