Alec Baldwin is an American actor who puts the “drama” in “dramatic arts.” With a career spanning over four decades, Baldwin has starred in everything from Oscar-winning movies to Emmy-winning sitcoms and even children’s programming! He’s also made tabloid headlines for everything from his political work to his explosive personal life. Direct a piercing gaze to these steely facts about Alec Baldwin.
Alec Baldwin Facts
43. Boy Toy & Fan Boy
Baldwin is a huge fan of the mystery novelist James Lee Burke, best known for his series centering around a troubled police detective by the name of Dave Robicheaux. Baldwin is such a fan that he owns the rights to several of Burke’s books. One of these novels, Heaven’s Prisoners, was released as a movie in 1996, with Baldwin starring as Robicheaux, of course.
42. Fraternal Advice Ain’t Always Nice
He once told his brother, fellow actor Stephen Baldwin, that filming the goofy Pauly Shore comedy vehicle Bio-Dome could end up being the single most career-destroying move that Stephen could make.
41. At Least One Vow Has Lasted
Baldwin’s ex-wife Kim Basinger convinced him to become a vegetarian. Years after their divorce, Baldwin continues to abstain from meat.
40. Writerly Revenge
In 1998, Baldwin penned his own episode of Law and Order, titled “Tabloid,” based on his own experience with tabloid reporters.
39. Taking It with Me!
After 30 Rock ended, Baldwin purchased all of Jack Donaghy’s snappy suits for himself.
38. Seventeen Night Stand
Baldwin holds the record for most times hosting Saturday Night Live. He’s hosted 17 times since 1990 and broke the record of Steve Martin, who has “only” hosted 15 shows.
37. We Meet Again, Pussycat
Call it wild a coincidence, or an unconscious desire for feline art: Baldwin has starred in two projects that feature the painting Horse Attacked by a Lion by George Stubbs. It appeared first in Working Girl 1988, and then in a season two episode of 30 Rock.
36. Highs & Lows
Baldwin is only the third person in history to be nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and a Worst Supporting Actor Razzie in the same year. This was in 2003 when he was honored for his role in the drama The Cooler—and less honored for his role as the scheming neighbor in The Cat in the Hat.
35. Reporting Live From Another Movie
Baldwin was the first choice to play the rival (and maimed) news anchor Frank Vitchard in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The part eventually went to Luke Wilson.
34. The Hero Hollywood Didn’t Need or Doesn’t Deserve
Baldwin was also considered for the title role in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman.
33. Pedigreed Past
The Baldwin family has been in America for 14 generations. Through his father, Baldwin is descended from the Mayflower passenger John Howland. He is also of English, Irish, Scottish, French-Canadian, and German ancestry.
32. A Close Call
The Baldwin line almost didn’t make it to America! His ancestor on the Mayflower, John Howland, was a servant to Governor John Carver on the voyage across the Atlantic; however, Howland fell overboard and almost drowned! Fortunately, he was rescued by the crew and lived to sire heirs on the Plymouth.
31. Thomas Gets a New Friend
In 1998, Baldwin replaced George Carlin as the narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends.
30. Rolling in Gold
Despite his initial aversion to making the switch to acting on TV, Baldwin became highly decorated for his critically acclaimed performance as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock. From 2006 to 2013, Baldwin was awarded two Emmys, three Golden Globes, and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards for the role. He also holds the male record for the most SAG awards of all time.
29. Nixon Nixes Self-Pity
In 1979, Baldwin lost the election for student body president of George Washington University. Hearing of his loss through a mutual friend, President Richard Nixon (!!!) sent the young Baldwin a letter of support, encouraging him to use it as a learning experience!
28. Love Loudly Lost
Baldwin’s divorce from and custody battle with Kim Basinger lives in tabloid infamy. According to him, Basinger spent a total of $1.5 million just to keep their daughter, Ireland, away from Baldwin in an act of continued “parental alienation.”
27. Pretty Good for a Pretty Person
In 1990, he ranked a respectable 9th on People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People in the World.” Way to make the top ten, Baldwin!
26. Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone
Baldwin had almost had enough of 30 Rock by season five. He accused the writing of going downhill and consistently anticipating leaving the show as a result of the perceived dip in quality. However, by the time the show actually ended, Baldwin offered to take a pay-cut in order to keep the series going!
25. Born Great
Baldwin’s full name is Alexander Rae Baldwin III. That literally makes him “Alexander the Third.”
24. To the Left (How Far Left?)
Not shy about his Democratic beliefs, Baldwin endorsed Barack Obama for the 2008 and 2012 federal elections. However, he also encouraged state leaders to renew New York’s tax break for the film and television industry. Tax breaks for big business aren’t really in line with “left” values, but maybe the arts are an exception?
23. Mayor Alec?
After the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal shook up the New York City mayoral race, Baldwin briefly considered running for the position in 2011. Instead, he opted to keep filming 30 Rock, a show about NYC.
22. He Wants in On the Joke
Despite the movie’s less than flattering portrayal of Baldwin, the actor was willing to voice his own puppet in the 2004 movie, Team America: World Police. However, Matt Stone and Trey Parker turned him down, as all the other celebrities parodied in their film were voiced by impressionists. The role eventually went to Maurice LaMarche.
21. From Whim to Winner
In 1979, Baldwin auditioned for the New York University Undergraduate Drama Program on a dare—and they accepted him!
20. Art Initiates Life (The Second Time)
Alec Baldwin has been a guest voice on The Simpsons twice. First, he played himself—alongside his then-wife Kim Basinger—in the Season 10 episode, “When You Dish Upon a Star.” He returned in Season 17—alone this time—to voice a marine biologist who is committed to saving the manatees. After this role, the Save the Manatees Club contacted Baldwin and convinced him to lend his voice to their public service announcements.
19. “I’m Not Like Other Interns”
With his early interest in Democratic politics, Baldwin volunteered in college for Representative Jerome Ambrose, a New York Democrat. However, he did not fit in with the other interns, later saying that they “were all just mythical alcoholics-in-training.”
18. Hot & Humble Beginnings
Unfortunately, this one is less glamorous than it sounds: when he was young, Baldwin worked as an errand boy at the legendary nightclub Studio 54. Unfortunately, it did not result in too many career perks. By the time he started working there in 1979, most of the well-known clientele had moved on after the club’s heyday.
17. Soaping Up Experience
After being referred to a casting agent, Baldwin went from health club employee to small-screen heartthrob. One of his first acting jobs was as Bill Aldrich on the soap opera, The Doctors. He cites this job as teaching him the survival skills of the business: learning lines quickly, making choices, and getting along with people.
16. Nothing Seals a Deal Like Good Vacation Benefits
Initially, Baldwin was reluctant to “stoop” to sitcoms like 30 Rock, stating he never wanted to do TV—except for occasionally hosting SNL, of course. Eventually, the stable schedule of shooting a weekly show appealed to the divorced father, who wanted more time with his daughter. One of the main reasons he accepted was the promise of a four-day weekend.
15. Imitation is the Snarkiest Form of Flattery
Baldwin modeled his performance as Jack Donaghy after Lorne Michaels, his longtime friend and the creator of Saturday Night Live.
14. Silent Sisters
We all know he’s the oldest in Hollywood’s quartet of Baldwin brothers—that’s Alec, Daniel, William, and Stephen, in that order. But did you know about Baldwin sisters? Elizabeth and Jane, unlike their brothers, have opted not to pursue careers in show business.
13. We All Live in a Yellow (Attack) Submarine
To prepare for his role in The Hunt for Red October, Baldwin was trained to drive an attack submarine.
12. Professor B.
If you were a Southampton University student in the summer of 2002, you might have been lucky enough to take a theater class under Alec Baldwin, who taught there for a guest term!
11. Classically Alec
Baldwin is a big patron of classical music. He discovered the genre in the 1980s, while driving his car through Los Angeles. Years later, Baldwin would host the radio broadcasts of The New York Philharmonic.
10. The Other Thing They’re Known For
Baldwin was born in Amityville, New York. Yes, that Amityville, home of the infamous 1951 Amityville murders, and the setting for many film adaptations based on the 1977 book The Amityville Horror.
9. Passionate About His Pets
Baldwin remains heavily involved in animal activism and speaks for PETA. A huge animal lover, he owned 10 dogs, 7 cats, and a wolf while he was married to Kim Basinger.
8. Learning from the Legends
Baldwin is prestigiously trained. He studied acting under Lee Strasberg, who himself coached the likes of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman and Jane Fonda.
7. A Complicated Charity
In Baldwin’s contract as a Capital One spokesman, he stipulated that that most of his salary would be given to his charity foundation. From 2010 to 2013, most of the $15 million he made was donated there. Unfortunately, following a 2013 altercation with a TMZ reporter, Capital One declined to renew Baldwin’s contract.
6. Struggles with Order
In 2005, Alec Baldwin diagnosed himself with obsessive-compulsive disorder. He noticed how his passion for order became a debilitating hindrance in his life and claimed that he often missed flights in order to neatly align objects in his apartment.
5. Submarines vs. The Stage
When faced with the choice of either starring in the sequel to the smash hit The Hunt for Red October or starring in a Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, Baldwin chose the latter. Can we blame him? It’s Broadway!
4. Online Addiction vs. The Airline
In 2011, American Airlines removed Baldwin from an airplane after he refused to turn off his electronic device and became belligerent, thereby delaying the flight. He was apparently in the middle of a heated game of Words with Friends while waiting for take-off. He went on to become a hero to the millions of people who don’t believe ‘Airplane Mode’ is a real, necessary thing.
3. Bitter Survival
Baldwin and Kim Basinger’s custody woes came to a head in 2011, when TMZ released an angry voicemail from Baldwin to his then-11-year-old-daughter, Ireland. In the message, Baldwin can be heard calling Ireland a “rude, thoughtless, little pig.” Baldwin has since commented on his mental state in the fallout: “I spoke to a lot of professionals, who helped me. If I committed suicide, [ex-wife Kim Basinger’s side] would have considered that a victory. Destroying me was their avowed goal.”
2. Problematic Praise?
While hosting the 68th Academy Awards in 1995, Whoopi Goldberg praised Baldwin for his alleged assault of a photographer that year. The paparazzi was allegedly videotaping Baldwin, his then-wife Kim Basinger, and their three-year-old daughter on their way home from the hospital, and Baldwin had enough.
1. Persona Non Grata
Baldwin is effectively banned from the Philippines. It began when he made a “joke” that he’d like to buy a Filipina wife. As a result, the Philippine senator and actor Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. personally swore to Baldwin that he would beat up him if he ever set foot in the country.