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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Actor Alan Alda auctioning off his ‘MASH’ dog tags, combat boots to raise funds for his Long Island center

Actor Alan Alda speaks during 'Bridge Of Spies' Q&A during the Hamptons International Film Festival on Oct. 12, 2015, in East Hampton, New York.   (Tribune News Service)
By Larry McShane New York Daily News

The good works of Capt. Hawkeye Pierce continue long after he went into reruns.

An upcoming Heritage Auction features the dog tags and Army boots worn by actor Alan Alda during his run in the acclaimed television series M*A*S*H, with proceeds from the sale going to his eponymous Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.

The items remain the only mementos kept by the now 87-year-old actor after the groundbreaking show ended in 1983, and the dog tags bear the names of two real Korean War veterans — a Black soldier from the south and a Jewish veteran from New York.

“Every day for 11 years, putting them on over my head and wearing them, I had a very close connection with them,” said Alda in a release announcing the auction. “I always wondered what their lives were like … They were real people to me.”

The scuffed-up boots, inscribed inside with the handwritten name “Hawkeye,” were given to Alda by costumers when he reported for duty at the fictional 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in 1972. They provided him with the dog tags as well.

Alda was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards and won five for his work on the classic show set at a Korean War M*A*S*H unit. Bidding is already underway, with Friday as its closing date.

In a simultaneous Heritage auction, would-be buyers can check out a cornucopia of collectibles from the beloved “Star Wars” films, including an unmatched assortment of props. The top lots include an Imperial Storm Trooper helmet, three original stunt light sabers and a rare screen-used Snowspeeder mini model.

John Azarian, owner of the expansive collection, recalled his interest was piqued as a 17-year-old standing in line to see the first film back in 1977. His initial purchase came in the late 1980s, and things took off from there.

“I think the stories and the characters are so relatable,” he said of his long-running interest. “Everybody cheers for them to succeed and to win — they were the good guys. I enjoyed nothing as much as the original trilogy.”

The auction highlights 35 “Star Wars” pieces from his formidable memorabilia cache, including the Snowspeeder once belonging to actress Carrie Fisher. The late Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia, also provided Azarian with a signed photo of her holding the piece.

The 63-year-old Azarian says he’s not selling everything in the auction ending Saturday: The collector is holding onto a collection of original “Star Wars” scripts.

For fans of slapstick, the Heritage sale also offers rare items from the legendary Three Stooges: Larry Fine’s custom-made violin, a complete set of Fleet Stooges trading cards featuring the trio, and a Columbia Pictures contract signed by the Stooges.

All the proceeds from the M*A*S*H sale will go to Alda’s Long Island center, where improvisational exercises and communication strategies help scientists to share their work and its impact.

Alda, who also earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on Martin Scorsese’s 2004 film “The Aviator,” said selling off the artifacts from the show that ran for 251 episodes wasn’t a tough call.

“I thought, what a great chance to put these boots and dog tags to work again,” he said, “Because I knew they were going to a good cause. They were going to do more good than sitting in my closet. They were screaming, ‘Let me out!’

“For 11 years, they helped promote the idea that human connection could be a palliative for war. And now they can promote the idea that a human connection can get us to understand the things that affect our lives so deeply.”