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Ed Asner as FDR

By Bethany Solomon

On April 14, several A&M-Texarkana students had the opportunity to see legendary actor Ed Asner perform in a one-man-show as President Franklin Roosevelt in FDR at the Perot Theater in downtown Texarkana.

Ed Asner has been an actor for over 50 years, and holds many prestigious accomplishments. Most well-known for his role as Lou Grant, the scruffy boss on The Mary Tyler Moore Show which ran from 1970-1977, according to IMDB. Asner has been the recipient of 7 Emmy’s. After his run on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, he went on to the spin-off Lou Grant as the headlining character from 1977-1982.

In his performance in FDR, Asner portrayed the president who served our country during the Great Depression and World War II. The show approached such subjects as Roosevelt’s struggle with polio, his decision to run for president, the economic crisis during his time as president, and important executive decisions he made concerning the war.

Asner delivered an exceptional performance, winning him a standing ovation from the audience at the end of the show. The show lasted approximately an hour and a half, in which Asner had no breaks in lines or appearances on stage as he was the only performer in the production. At over 80 years old, he was well-spoken, clearly heard and understood by all in the audience, and had an energetic, dramatic, and vivacious approach in playing the legendary American president. He would make a performer of any age envious of his talents.

After the show ended, many A&M students in attendance had the chance to attend a meet-and-greet session with Asner himself. During the discussion, Asner talked with his private audience about where he was when he heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor as well as the death of FDR, his roles and experiences in Hollywood, and his political beliefs. The A&M students and local V.I.P’s then had the opportunity to shake his hand, take pictures with him, and get his autograph.

Not only was Ed Asner an interesting character to meet, but students had the opportunity to interact with some local dignitaries who were part of the group discussion. Attending the play were WWII veterans, political activists. One man was part of Congress during the war, and actually remembered Roosevelt addressing them about entering the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It was an incredible and educational experience for all.

It was an evening that no one will soon forget, for Asner was charming, comical, and intelligent and it was an honor to hear his opinions, memories, and expertise on acting in theater and television.

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