Alan Alda has been named this year’s winner of the Valentine Davies Award by the Writers Guild of America West for his contributions to the entertainment industry and the community at large.
The award for the writer-actor-director will be presented March 5 at the annual WGA ceremonies, taking place simultaneously at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and the Plaza Hotel in New York. Past recipients of the award, named for the writer of “Miracle on 34th Street,” include Michael Canin, Garson Canin, Garry Marshall, Hal Kanter, Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, Norman Lear, Ray Bradbury, Philip Dunne and last year’s winner Barry Kemp.
“Through his writing, his acting and his directing, Alan Alda has poured his personal energy into issues that matter — from the lives of children to the rights of women — and beyond,” said John Wells, president of the WGAW. “Alan has always been willing to devote himself to the world around him, and to strive to improve it. Our world is better because of his efforts.”
Alda, currently host of PBS series “Scientific American Frontiers,” is best known for portraying Hawkeye Pierce on the television series “MASH,” for which he wrote and directed many episodes. He won five Emmys during his 11 years on the show and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1994.
Alda also has received two Writers Guild Award nominations (one for a “MASH” episode and the other for the screenplay of the feature “Four Seasons”), won the Directors Guild Award three times and has received six Golden Globes from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Film credits include “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” “Flirting With Disaster,” “Murder at 1600,” “California Suite” and “Same Time, Next Year,” as well as “The Seduction of Joe Tynan,” which he wrote, and “The Four Seasons,” “Sweet Liberty,” “A New Life” and “Betsy’s Wedding,” all of which he wrote and directed.
He and his wife, author-photographer Arlene Alda, co-founded the Alda Family Center at the Genesis Domestic Violence Shelter in New York. In 1990, they created a family foundation that funds other charities focusing on children and families at risk.
Alda campaigned extensively for the Equal Rights Amendment and was named in 1975 by President Ford to serve on the National Commission for the Observance of Intl. Women’s Year. He was also a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation between 1989 and 1999.