A gangly wise guy with a surprising liberal core, Alda is a joker with a heart of gold best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H.

Alda grew up traveling with the burlesque and vaudeville troupe in which his father performed. After overcoming a childhood bout with polio, Alda entered the Army Reserve and served as a gunnery officer during the Korean War. It wasn't until after the war in the late ‘50s that Alda turned to acting. He landed roles in several films and plays before signing on for the role of Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H, where he remained for 11 seasons. The show ended in 1983, providing Alda with a slow yet steady acting career. He appeared in movies like Sweet Liberty, Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, and The Aviator, and picked up bit parts on TV shows like The West Wing and ER.

In 2005, Alda ended his 15-year stint hosting Scientific American Frontiers, the educational science and technology show on PBS. The show featured Alda reporting from remote locations around the world, sometimes with less-than-glamorous results. Beyond acting, Alda has taken a stab at the written word with several memoirs.

He married photographer and clarinetist Arlene Weiss in 1957. They have three adult daughters, Eve, Elizabeth, and Beatrice. [Image via Getty]