Alan Alda is battling Parkinson’s disease.
The 82-year-old actor revealed his diagnosis during an appearance on Tuesday’s CBS This Morning.
Alda said he was first diagnosed three and a half years ago, but has lived a “full life since then.” He said he decided to go public with his illness after noticing his thumb twitch during recent television appearances. “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.”
Alda said he personally sought out a scan after reading an article that indicated that if a person acts out their dreams, it might be a very early symptom of the disease. “I was having a dream where someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them — but what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” he recounted.
Despite the diagnosis, Alda remains optimistic. “Not to shortchange people who are suffering with really severe symptoms,” Alda continued, “but in the very beginning to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you – it hasn’t happened to you. There are still things you can do.”
“It hasn’t stopped my life at all,” he added. “I’ve had a richer life than I’ve had up until now.”
Watch Alda’s full interview below.
A six-time Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, Alda is best known for television roles in M*A*S*H, ER, and The West Wing in addition to The Aviator, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.