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Alan Alda Reveals He Was Diagnosed With Parkinson’s Three Years Ago: ‘I’ve Had a Full Life Since Then’

Alan Alda has Parkinson’s disease, but he’s been living a “full life” since his diagnosis, as the 82-year-old revealed on Tuesday, July 31.

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The M*A*S*H star made the reveal during his appearance on CBS This Morning, explaining he found out he had the neurodegenerative disorder three and a half years ago.

“I’ve had a full life since then,” he added. “I’ve acted, I’ve given talks, I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I started this new podcast.”

Alan Alda parkinsons three years
Alan Alda INSTAR Images

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The podcast is “Clear+Vivid,” in which the six-time Emmy winner chats with “people who know how hard it is, and yet how good it feels, to really connect with other people,” according to its official description.

In his post-M*A*S*H years, Alda has also guest-starred on the TV shows The West Wing, 30 Rock and The Good Fight, and appeared in the films What Women Want, Wanderlust and Bridge of Spies. He also received an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in 2004’s The Aviator.

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On CBS This Morning, Alda appeared to be in high spirits. “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,” he told the morning show’s hosts. “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.”

He also said he’s “not angry” about his lot in life. “Because it’s a challenge, you know? You’ve got to cross the street, there are cars coming. How do you get across the street? You don’t just sit on the pavement and say, ‘Well, I guess I’ll never cross the street again.’ You find a way to do it,” he observed. “There are some common symptoms, but mostly everybody’s different, and each day is different from the next. One day you wake up, you think, ‘Oh, it’s over, it’s gone.’ Next day it’s back a little worse. You don’t know what it’s going to be, but the main thing is, there’s stuff you can do.”

“You know how I look at it? It’s like a puzzle to be solved,” he added. “What do I have to adapt to to carry on a normal life? And I enjoy solving puzzles.”

Alda also said he’s been taking boxing lessons, playing tennis, and marching to Sousa music, explaining that marching to tunes is good for Parkinson’s. And he said he’s not going to worry. “It’s three and a half years since I had the diagnosis, and it hasn’t stopped my life at all,” he said. “I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”

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