Ed Asner's Still Crusty After All These Years

Returning to Broadway, Actor Is Outspoken as Ever

By Simi Horwitz

Published September 27, 2012, issue of October 05, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

The demise of the latter still troubles Asner, who insists that it was cancelled not due to failing ratings but rather because of his politics. “I was a spokesman for medical aid to El Salvador, so people thought I was giving commies money and I was branded a commie,” he said. “It was money for humanitarian purposes and it was blown out of all proportion. It was $25,000 from private donations. It was not taken from the union, which was how it was misrepresented.”

Asner maintains he was blacklisted for a period of time because he was viewed as a political liability, though more often than not the producers rejected him on the grounds that he was ostensibly “too old, too fat, or too overexposed.”

Asner continues to weigh in on controversial issues. He is an outspoken critic of Israel’s settlements in the West Bank, asserting that the growth of global anti-Semitism is largely the result of Israel’s refusal to establish peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians. And he is the narrator of a 15-minute DVD, “Solving the Mystery of WTC7,” which rejects the official view that following the 9/11 terrorist attack, the 7 World Trade Center building imploded because of widespread fires.

“Of course certain elements of the American government had to be involved,” said Asner. “I’m not saying George Bush pulled the plug or even knew about it. But when government policies and programs are not going well, you create a casus belli, an incident and a cause for war.”

At the moment, however, Asner’s thoughts are focused most intently on “Grace” and the challenges in bringing Karl to life, though he finds talking about how he gets into character distasteful.

“Some things should not be verbalized,” he said with a grimace. “They say making laws is like making sausages. You shouldn’t watch. It’s the same for acting, especially for the actor who works unconsciously.”

Looking back on his career, Asner contends that he would do nothing differently, though he might redo the way he lived. “Short of sex, I viewed myself pure as the driven snow. My self-examination could have been more rigorous. I could have been braver, better, more rehearsed for life.”

Asked if there was anything he wanted to add, he said, without missing a beat, “Bury my ashes in Mount Scopus.”

Simi Horwitz is a cultural reporter, whose previous credits include 17 years with Back Stage, and eight with Theater Week. Recently, she has contributed to Crain’s New York Business.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.