Ed Asner Gets To The Bottom Of Things


The voice on the other end of the phone was familiar: crusty, engaging, opinionated. It was so Ed Asner, with a little bit of “Mr. Grant,” too.

That was his iconic role of veteran newspaperman Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the ’70s and its hour-long spin-off drama Lou Grant in the early ’80s. Younger audiences will know him as Santa Claus in the film Elf and as the voice of Carl Fredricks in the animated films Up.

Asner has won more Emmy Awards than any other male actor: seven, including five for the role of Lou Grant. The others were for the mini-series Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man. He was also nominated a total of 16 times.

Asner was chatting up his up-coming appearance in his touring show of bringing his show A Man and His Prostate which will play Old Saybrook’s Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on Wednesday, Aug. 16 and Thursday, Aug. 17. The Kate is where he also did his solo show FDR in 2010.

The show is not about his prostate—which is doing just fine, he says. The show is based on experiences by the his friend Ed Weinberger, who was writer-producer of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.


Asner says the story follows Weinberger’s travails when the comedy writer was vacationing in Italy and developed medical issues involving his prostate. The show deals with “a life-changing week in a foreign hospital including a rectal exam, enemas, the fear of post-surgery impotence and sex after 70.”

“I call it the male response to The Vagina Monologues,” he says referring to Eve Ensler’s show about the female anatomy that was a huge international success.

“But guys don’t talk about these things,” says Asner.