Edward Asner


Edward Asner Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Reality Spoils It, Once Again!

    As a teenager watching reruns in the 1990s, I simply adored Ed Asner's character on Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mr. Grant was exactly what a girl would want in a grandpa OR a husband! Tough as nails on the outside, but soft as cashmere inside. Incredibly devoted to his wife, some of my favorite moments were watching the paradox of how he reacted towards her in comparison to everyone else. When Edie told him she was leaving to pursue self-fulfilling ambitions, I wanted to pummel the dear lady! Did she not know what she had?!

    The sad reality of coming to terms with an actor versus the character that he or she plays is that you can be incredibly disappointed. So I was after I started hearing some of the vitriol spouting from the mouth of Ed Asner in recent years - sulphurous hatred against our President in a time of war and towards those who politically disagree with Asner as well. Having opposing views is one thing to come to terms with, especially in times such as these, but to get it so wrong and then spew hatred over it is quite another.

    Ed Asner, I have come to realize, is a kind of inside-out opposite of his Lou Grant character. Whereas Grant had a flinty exterior but was a softy at heart, Asner has shown himself in recent years to be soft in the head and has a hard heart.
  • A Personal Recollection

    In December 1982, with the film magazine for which I was associate editor on the rocks (it tumbled all the way over but recovered later) and everyone gone on holiday, I found myself alone in the magazine's Los Angeles offices; that's the way I liked it. Quiet is good for getting some work done, and the place was not usually quiet. While I struggled with backlog, my quiet was interrupted by the phone: not the general office phone but MY phone. Who knew I was there? I picked it up and found that the voice on the other end of the line belonged to Ed Asner.

    Asner was calling me from New York (where he was making the film Daniel), at the behest of the film's publicist, of whom I had requested an interview with any cast or (major) production crew member. My publisher had told me anyone would be fine... except Asner. Don't interview Asner. He was too political.

    Then Screen Actors Guild President and supporter of the 1980 Actors' Strike, Asner was considered in some circles too hot to handle. I didn't hang in those circles and didn't care for my instructions; I was glad when it turned out to be Asner who called. I'd been a fan for years.

    We spoke more about Daniel than his role in it (the lawyer who defends, and helps the children of, a thinly disguised Ethel and Julius Rosenberg-ish married couple who are accused and convicted of, and executed for, espionage and treason). He was enthusiastic about the film, and given his political background and his outspokenness against the death penalty, it was right up his alley. He spoke intelligently about the making of the film, and while, since nearly 24 years have passed since our conversation, and since I was writing what is known as work-for-hire, I cannot reproduce here exactly what was said then, I can certainly convey my strong impression of how dedicated he was not only to his job but to the entire project. He was also down to earth and friendly as pie.

    It was already apparent to me from his body of work so far that he took acting seriously, and from said work and his (to me, at any rate, correct) politicization of the position of his craft's leading union, that he took the whole art and business seriously. That he has the talent to effect what his heart and mind believe in is what makes the acting work; that he has the strength and conviction to make the rest of it work too is astonishing.

    The conversation we had was lively but eventually drew to a close. Asner mentioned that the director, Sidney Lumet, had chosen a special technique to distinguish present from past, since the film hops back and forth between the two. I eagerly asked him what that technique might be and he said,

    "Well, as Chloris Leachman used to say on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, 'That's Mother's little secret!'"