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Ed Asner brilliant as FDR

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By Theresa Goffredo
Herald Writer
  • Veteran actor Ed Asner portrays Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a solo performance Saturday at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

    Kevin Wolf / Associated Press

    Veteran actor Ed Asner portrays Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a solo performance Saturday at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

You've known him as the teddy-bearish Lou Grant and as the gruff, elderly widower Carl Fredricksen from the Pixar animated movie "Up."
Now, know "Ed Asner as FDR."
Asner, 83, will present a solo performance Saturday at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, exploring President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's life and the events that helped frame history.
Asner will follow the path of FDR, one of America's favorite presidents, from inauguration to the New Deal to the trials and tragedies of World War II.
ECA executive director Joseph McIalwain said this particular performance holds special significance because the Edmonds Center for the Arts, which was built in 1939, was part of Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration program.
"It will be a thrill to have Ed Asner, an icon in his own right, take our audience on a journey through this iconic president's life and years of leadership," McIalwain said. "The historical nature of this event and Mr. Asner's brilliant performance will combine to create a really fantastic theatrical experience."
In playing FDR, Asner's journey takes on the White House years including the Depression, the events that led up to World War II and through the war years.
This peek through history isn't just a rose-colored view, as Asner offers fireside chats alongside FDR's controversial packing of the Supreme Court and his extramarital affair with Lucy Mercer.
FDR's life with wife Eleanor is part of this performance along with his manipulation of Congress to initiate a draft and his courage to break the Neutrality Act, according to press material.
Asner is on stage to show us the black and white and gray of FDR, the first man in history to be elected to four terms.
This performance is based on Dore Schary's Broadway play, "Sunrise at Campobello."
For seven years starting in 1970, Asner was known to America as newsman Lou Grant from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show." He went on to get his own show, "Lou Grant," and won seven Emmy Awards and five Golden Globes.
Another well-known role for Asner was that of FBI operative Guy Banister in Oliver Stone's 1991 movie, "JFK."
Besides being the voice of Carl Fredricksen from "Up," Asner's biography has him playing a voice roles for animated programs including J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s television series "Spider-Man," Master Vrook from "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," and Cosgrove on "Freakazoid."
"Ed Asner as FDR" will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturdayat Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N, Edmonds.
Tickets are $35 to $45 and $15 for youth and students. Go to or call 425-275-9595.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;
Story tags » TheaterEdmondsHistory

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