Comedy is tragedy ... plus Alan Alda
His signature work -- Hawkeye in "M*A*S*H" -- began in '72 but lasted through 1983. (Alda co-wrote and directed the series finale -- "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.")
But several of his most under-appreciated film roles also came in the 80s. Of them, Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" stands out for Alda, since it's one of the first times he plays a villain (something that would be commonplace later in his career).
But don't underestimate the simplicity of "Sweet Liberty," where Alda plays a small-town history professor whose book on the Revolutionary War is nearly turned into a farce by Hollywood. (Casting Michael Caine as the horn-dog British commander -- jolly good!)
Alda turns 72 years old today. Queue up some his classic work and honor our favorite Army surgeon.
5 GREAT ALAN ALDA LINES FROM THE 80s:
5. "Mom, the Devil is not in your kitchen." (Sweet Liberty)
4. "If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it isn't." (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
3. "Comedy is tragedy plus time!" (Crimes and Misdemeanors)
2. "I think I should warn you - I have a sword in my bag." (Sweet Liberty)
1. "Father, I may never see you again, and before you go, there's something I've been meaning to tell you for a long time. Your shirt's on backwards." (M*A*S*H)