Beloved Hollywood actor and longtime activist Ed Asner has died at the age of 91 at his home in California. On screen, he was best known for playing newsman Lou Grant, first on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” then in his own spinoff. Off screen, Asner was an outspoken activist for union and labor rights, including during his tenure as the president of the Screen Actors Guild. He condemned President Reagan’s support to the right-wing military government in El Salvador and raised funds for medical relief in the country. His activism led CBS to cancel his program, the “Lou Grant” show, in 1982. Asner frequently spoke out against American imperialism and perpetual warfare. In October 2002, Ed Asner spoke to Democracy Now! shortly before taking part in mass protests against the Iraq War, and just after then-President George W. Bush received backing from House leaders to invade Iraq.
Ed Asner: “This is to demonstrate that these acts will not be done in our name. We do not sign on to these acts, such as a unilateral invasion of Iraq, and to the abrogation of civil liberties in this country to pursue these warlike acts by this administration.”
Click here to see our full interview with Ed Asner at the time in our attic studios at the firehouse in downtown Manhattan just blocks from ground zero. He’s died at the age of 91.