Alan Alda Still Makes a Ton of Cash From M*A*S*H

Veteran actor Alan Alda may be almost 40 years out from the historic last episode of his hit sitcom MAS*H, but he will always be remembered as brash jokester Hawkeye Pierce.

Even all these years later, Alda still makes a nice chunk of change from the classic and beloved sitcomโ€™s reruns.

Alda hasnโ€™t stopped working

After leaving MAS*H, Alda went on to write and direct for feature films, with notable successes including The Four Seasons in which he co-starred with Carol Burnett. He also appeared in several of director Woody Allenโ€™s projects, including Manhattan ๐•„๐•ฆ๐•ฃ๐••๐•–๐•ฃ Mystery and โ„‚๐•ฃ๐•š๐•ž๐•–๐•ค ๐•’๐•Ÿ๐•• ๐•„๐•š๐•ค๐••๐•–๐•ž๐•–๐•’๐•Ÿ๐• ๐•ฃ๐•ค.

Despite being ๐••๐•š๐•’๐•˜๐•Ÿ๐• ๐•ค๐•–๐•• in 2014 with โ„™๐•’๐•ฃ๐•œ๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•ค๐• ๐•Ÿโ€™๐•ค ๐••๐•š๐•ค๐•–๐•’๐•ค๐•–, Alda hasnโ€™t allowed it to slow him down. Most recently, he launched a podcast called โ€œClear+Vividโ€ on which heโ€™s had lengthy and in-depth conversations with guests including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Goldie Hawn, and Betty White.

He shared with the Saturday Evening Post in 2019 his thought process on what he chooses to work on nowadays.

โ€œNumber one, it has to sound like fun, and it has to seem like it will be a challenge because I donโ€™t want to keep doing what Iโ€™ve done before,โ€ he said. โ€œItโ€™s like walking a high wire between two buildings and seeing if you can keep from falling off. It doesnโ€™t always have to be in front of a lot of people. Iโ€™ve gotten as much of a kick out of performing in a small theater before a couple of hundred people as 20 million on TV or in a movie.โ€

His least favorite aspect of M*A*S*H

Alan Alda In M*A*S*H, 1972
Alan Alda In M*A*S*H, 1972 | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The Marriage Story star has not been shy about expressing his dislike of one part of the ๐•ž๐•š๐•๐•š๐•ฅ๐•’๐•ฃ๐•ช situation comedy: the laugh track. Alda looked at the showโ€™s laugh track as an ๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•ค๐•ฆ๐•๐•ฅ to viewers, as he told journalist Jeff Greenfield at an event for the Museum of the Moving Image in 2013.

โ€œ[Show producers] Larry (Gelbart) and Gene (Reynolds) got the network to agree that they wouldnโ€™t have a laugh track in the ๐• ๐•ก๐•–๐•ฃ๐•’๐•ฅ๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•˜ room. The ๐• ๐•ก๐•–๐•ฃ๐•’๐•ฅ๐•š๐•Ÿ๐•˜ room scenes. I donโ€™t know what the rationale was. It didnโ€™t make any sense in the tent, either.

โ€œBut, whereโ€™s the audience? I didnโ€™t know where the audience was supposed to be. It wasnโ€™t in the studio. Somehow it was the tradition that if we didnโ€™t show the audience at home where to laugh, they would think it wasnโ€™t funny.โ€

What Alan Alda earns from M*A*S*H reruns

Alan Alda and Loretta Swit of 'M*A*S*H'
Alan Alda and Loretta Swit of โ€˜M*A*S*Hโ€™ | Ann Clifford/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

According to Collider, Alda earns a not-too-shabby $1 million per year in residuals from the show that ran 11 seasons from 1972 to 1983.

Alda reunited with his former MAS*H co-stars Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff, Jamie Farr, and Mike Farrell in 2019 on his podcast. As he told the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas that year, the showโ€™s fans donโ€™t seem to tire of seeing the old gang get together from time to time.

โ€œThe response to that was wonderful to see,โ€ he said. โ€œItโ€™s so interesting. People like to know that weโ€™re still friends. I guess itโ€™s partly a response to the program originally because the characters were drawn from all over the country, but they had to live together like a family. I think to see that played out in real life is reassuring to people, that a sense of family is possible.โ€

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