Renowned actor and popular science podcaster Alan Alda recently stopped by the New England Aquarium to meet Ruddy, a giant Pacific octopus.

Alda, who starred in the TV show “M.A.S.H.,” was introduced to the octopus by Sy Montgomery, author of the national bestselling book “The Soul of an Octopus,” and their discussion was recorded for his podcast being released Tuesday, March 31.

“I had the best time meeting Ruddy at the New England Aquarium,” Alda says in his “Clear + Vivid” podcast introduction. “I think she liked me because she seemed pretty interested in pulling me into the tank with her. The wonderful science writer Sy Montgomery introduced me to Ruddy and to other wonders at the New England Aquarium.”

“Clear + Vivid” is a podcast that features conversations with celebrities and scientists about connecting with others. At the Aquarium, Alda was interested to hear from Montgomery about how octopuses see, hear, feel, eat, and communicate with humans. Alda also asked Montgomery about her work with a range of other animals.


Alan Alda and Sy Montgomery at the Aquarium

“Introducing Alan Alda to (Senior Aquarist Bill Murphy) and Ruddy was one of the great delights of my life,” said Montgomery. “Had I found myself in an elevator alone with this iconic actor, I’d not have had the temerity to even bother him by saying hello. But to be able to offer him a chance to meet not only wonderful Bill, but also our beautiful octopus Ruddy gave me not only an excuse to meet my favorite all-time actor, but also, even better, a chance to give something back to a man whose work I have immensely enjoyed for five decades.
“And after spending an afternoon with him, I can also tell you this: Alan Alda really is as kind and smart as he seems!” said Montgomery. “I’m honored to be on his excellent, important podcast. Especially now, because ‘Clear & Vivid’ is all about connection, and we need that so much now!”

If you want to listen to this podcast, it is available Tuesday and afterward through Patreon:


Author Sy Montgomery, New England Aquarium President and CEO Vikki SPruill, and Alan Alda
Author Sy Montgomery, New England Aquarium President and CEO Vikki Spruill, and Alan Alda, renowned actor and popular science podcaster