Actor Ed Asner was in Northwest Indiana Tuesday performing his one-man show, dedicated to the life of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, for a charity event for The Miller Beach Arts & Creative District.
He also took time to talk to students at West Side High School in Gary.
Asner, recipient of seven Emmy Awards, is forever known to all for his character Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," and later, his own spin-off series "Lou Grant."
But Asner, who will turn 84 this year, and his visit to our Region was not embraced by all of our Times readers. A few contacted me to voice their displeasure about Asner and what was described to me as his "political agendas."
Reader Bill Finik of Valparaiso was one of the readers who contacted me after I wrote about Asner in my column.
"Good Morning Philip: Your ad, er... column on Asner failed to mention his recent activities with the California Teachers Union. You know, the one that depicts the wealthy urinating on the poor? Asner can't recall that he was the one who narrated the propaganda piece. As a multi-millionaire, he deplores the other, non-union, wealthy people.
And if not due to space restraints, I'm sure you would have mentioned that he is about as far left as you can get. A Hollywood masterpiece, that lovable Lou Grant.....
As you can tell, I will not be attending his events. But maybe some protesters would be appropriate. I'm sure he would understand. Thanks for reading, Bill Finik, Valpo"
Thank you to Bill and others who took the time to contact me and share their thoughts.
After last week's announcement that his friend and co-star Valerie Harper, 73, has been diagnosed with brain cancer, Asner surprised the actress by appearing (via satellite video screen) with her for a taping of the syndicated series "The Doctors," which aired Monday, and also included a surprise visit by their co-star Cloris Leachman, who appeared in studio. Harper worked with the two when she played Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Rhoda."
In a statement through his rep, Asner said: "I have come to know her [Valerie] much better in my latter years and have every confidence in the world that she will shock the hell out of us and survive to keep functioning as the great talent and human that she is."
Following his Chicago premiere of "An American Story," entertainer Hershey Felder just announced he will present a series of new productions, also at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago, including a new play about actor Jack Lemmon called "Lem," starring Christopher Lemmon playing his father. Felder said he will be creating and presenting this new musical story, coming later this year, centered around fathers and sons.