It's hard to imagine Trapper John as a song and dance man. Elliot Gould, the man who starred in Robert Altman's counterculture classic M*A*S*H, was schooled in numerous acting and dancing classes as a kid. In fact, Gould won dance contests on summer vacations in the Catskills with his family, doing the mambo with his mother.
Born in 1938, he was able to make a living in the chorus of many a Broadway musical. When he hit the movies, he starred in The Long Goodbye, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in 1969's Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
Gould was an unconventional leading man. He was not conventionally handsome, but he was a sex symbol, and he was funny, vulnerable and laid-back in an uptight era.
Alan Rosenberg sits down with Gould and asks the tough questions about growing older. Gould finds the hardest part is that he "can't be oblivious anymore."
"There's a reality and truth to how the body, the tissue, responds to wear and tear and how we function with it," he says. He might be referring to one of his passions, one-on-one games with the likes of basketball greats Walt Frazier and Michael Jordan. "But great players have to learn to live with the pain."
Gould might not be playing so many leading roles these days but he works constantly. He was in several episodes of Friends, and stars in Oceans 11, 12 & 13, among many projects. Gould notes working with the younger generation keeps him humble. "I have to be careful not to condescend, and step aside and let the kids play."