Actor Alan Alda recognized for philanthropic work, support of broadcasters

Alan Alda's interview with Greta Van Susteren

LAS VEGAS (Gray News) - Veteran actor, director and writer Alan Alda was awarded Monday with the National Association of Broadcasters’ Distinguished Service at the opening of the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

Alda, 83, is best known for his 11-season run as Dr. Hawkeye Pierce in the iconic television drama “M.A.S.H.” or his stint on “West Wing” as Republican Sen. Arnold Vinick. However, he has a much wider repertoire than that show, stepping outside the entertainment industry to philanthropic and educational endeavors, along with a podcast now in its third season that aims to help others “learn to connect better with others in every area of your life.”

Just before receiving his award, Alda sat down for an in-depth interview with Gray Television Chief National Political Analyst Greta Van Susteren. In that conversation, he discussed the vitriolic political environment in the U.S.

“We’re very divided. On the podcast I do “Clear+Vivid,” one of the things I do is to see if we can help heal that rift,” Alda said. “The people I have on are really smart people from every field.”

Alda contends that much of the negativity could be overcome with an open mind.

“Very often, it involves listening to the other person and not deciding with the first word that this person is the enemy,” Alda said. “I don’t think I’m really listening unless I’m willing to be changed by the other person.”

Alda has relied on his own advice in a 62-year marriage to Arlene.

“When you have a disagreement, no matter how heated it gets, you have to keep remembering that this is the person you love,” Alda said. “Sometimes you forget that in the middle of a fight. They’re never the enemy. There’s always a reason to cooperate.”

Alda counts the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University as one of his greatest achievements. Its aim is to teach scientists to improve how they relate to people when explaining complex concepts.

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