Actor Alan Alda is perhaps best known for playing the role of Hawkeye Pierce in the war television series M*A*S*H. The star actor revealed why he always hated criticism in a sit-down interview with Harvard Business Review back in 2017.
Alda was certainly no stranger to the big screen. In addition to starring in M*A*S*H, the 85-year-old Alda had reoccurring roles in TV shows such as The West Wing, and 30 Rock.
A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, Alda has without a doubt responded well to all of his success. But it’s how he responds to criticism that that drew an interesting response.
“I’ve always hated criticism,” Alda admits. “For a long time I would not read any reviews, because they stick in your head. The bad ones you never forget, and the good ones often praise you for the wrong things.”
Despite his remarks, he says that he has gotten better at dealing with criticisms as he’s aged. However, he has his own idea about how people should be critical of others.
“But I think I’m getting better at it now,” he says. “I mean, when we do a workshop, I say, ‘Tell us what didn’t work for you or what you think we could do better.’”
“I don’t crave criticism, but I do want an honest response,” the M*A*S*H star explains. “I’m also a little more aware that criticism, hard as it’s been in my work on the stage and as a writer, is one person’s opinion, and I don’t have to accept it. I can look for what might be useful in it, but I don’t want to get trapped into trying to appeal to somebody’s point of view. It’s an effort to be rational about it.”
Alda Discusses What Makes ‘M*A*S*H’ Special
The man behind Hawkeye Pierce always knew just how special M*A*S*H really was. Alan Alda explained as much when he sat down with the Television Academy Foundation for an interview back in the year 2000.
The star actor discusses just what made the show so special and how it persevered despite facing obstacles in the beginning.
“You can’t ignore the collection of people that was brought together by [show co-creator] Gene Reynolds,” Alda said. “You know, the writing and the acting and the directing talent was terrific. We also had, at a certain point, we had achieved enough popularity, that the network put us on in a prominent place. That had something to do with it. You know, a prominent place in the schedule.”