Alan Alda Choked, Set Himself On Fire & Was Nearly Crushed On Stage

2/24/2012 9:20am EST

Alan Alda

Alan Alda regularly snubs offers to hit Broadway because the theatre is a dangerous place for him - he was almost killed onstage three times.
The M*A*S*H veteran starred in a number of theatre productions in his youth, including "The Apple Tree," which earned him a Tony Award nomination in 1967, but Alda eventually turned his back on his thespian pursuits - because he couldn't escape his string of bad luck.
He recalls, "I was playing Job from the Book of Job, from the bible. I was very young, I was 24. I was about 40 years too young to play him. So I had all this crepe hair on my face and I didn't really know how to put crepe hair on so it stayed. It would just like come off. So I took a deep breath to go into a long speech and a crepe hair had floated out in the air... and I (inhaled) and it went right down my throat and I choked, for a long time. And for the first minute, people in the front row were saying, 'He's very realistic.'"
Alda's near-death experiences onstage didn't stop there - his life flashed before his eyes on two other separate occasions.
He continues, "It was an opening night on Broadway and I was supposed to be alone on stage talking to myself and smoking. And I don't know how to smoke, I still don't know how to smoke, so, I lit a cigarette and I put out the match. And I was wearing a cheap robe, made out of something that's very flammable and the match was out, but it was still glowing... And I look down and I'm a sheet of flames...
"And the third time was in a musical on Broadway. It was almost opening night. And a giant light that weighed 200 pounds came out of the flies (the ceiling) and fell within three inches of my face. Boom right on the floor. And it was just before I was supposed to turn and walk away. And it fell right on my cape."

Alan Alda

Photo Credits: PR Photos

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