WATERLOO, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - Ed Asner as Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show told Mary Richards he hated “spunk,” which is funny now partly because fewer people in show business have more of it than Asner.
Asner has never been afraid to, as he puts it, “raise a stink” over an observed injustice.
When he was president of the Screen Actors Guild, Asner made headlines by opining on the civil war in El Salvador and jeopardized his career and reputation.
“Post-facto I had become aware that I had done that,” Asner said. “I thought I had protected myself very well and in the middle of that controversy realized that I had stuck it out there and that’s when I knew what the score was.”
Asner talked with Adam from del Lago Resort & Casino where he was to perform a one-man show Wednesday night.
Asked why at 87 years old he keeps at it, Asner said, “All I’m good at is acting … I worked as a metal finisher, a cab driver, seller over the phone, encyclopedia salesman, believe me, I act better than any of those.”
He picked up several of those jobs in the Midwest where he was born and raised.
Asner began on stage, but found quick success on screen in Hollywood.
His role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show shot him into stardom.
Between that show and its spin-off “Lou Grant” Asner won too many Emmys to carry.
Even though jobs became harder to come by after the El Salvador flap, Asner didn’t stop working and he didn’t stop rallying for causes he believed in like organized labor.
“I don’t sweat and die for the cause like so many other unheralded people do, I’m a splasher,” Asner said of his role in various movements, though friends heap on a more credit than Asner is willing to.
Asner’s show Wednesday was called “A Man and his Prostate.”
It combines humor with important messages about prostate cancer awareness.
All proceeds from the show are going to Upstate Medical University Prostate Cancer Research.