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Seven-Time Emmy Award Winner and Former Screen Actor’s Guild President Ed Asner Talks About His Life of Political Activism and His Opposition to War

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On Sunday thousands will gather in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and over a dozen cities to oppose an invasion of Iraq and take the “Not In Our Name” Pledge.

Seven-time Emmy award winning actor Ed Asner, is one of them. Born in Kansas City in 1929, he started his performance career as an announcer for his high school radio station. He then moved from stage work in the fifties to television in the '60s. He won several Emmys for portraying the character of Mary Tyler Moore's boss Lou Grant in the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-1977) and a crusading newspaperman for the spin-off series “Lou Grant” (1977-1982).

While “Lou Grant” was in production, Asner was twice elected the head of the Screen Actor’s Guild, a position that he frequently used as a forum for his political opinions -notably his opposition to US involvement in Central America. When Asner suggested that each guild member contribute toward opposing the country’s foreign policy, he clashed with Charlton Heston, who seized Asner’s office from him in a highly publicized power play. Though no tangible proof has ever been offered, it was Asner’s belief that Lou Grant was canceled in 1982 due to his political beliefs and not because of dwindling ratings. Asner is outspoken in his opposition to the Bush Administration and its so-called “war on terror.”

Guest:

  • Ed Asner, actor and social activist.

Tape:

  • Saul Williams, “Not In Our Name” Pledge.

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