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…and he’s bringing his prostate with him

Small-screen legend Ed Asner performs at Georgian in April
Ed Asner comes to Barrie in April (Photo provided)

He’s well known to generations of TV viewers as the curmudgeonly TV news producer Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and age hasn’t slowed him down.

He’s also at the point where, at age 88, he doesn’t like to waste time. Seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner will be performing a play called A Man and his Prostate at Barrie’s Georgian Theatre next month, and when asked by BarrieToday what keeps him going, rather than give some highfalutin’, artistic answer, he says simply, “My pacemaker!”

Prostate is an autobiographical work, by multi-Emmy winner Ed Weinberger, whose name is also familiar to regular MTM devotees. Asner says of the play, “It brings prostate cancer awareness to the forefront, pays tribute to those we have lost, and gives an anatomy lesson to boot! It is a funny story and in this case, has a happy ending. The journey takes the audience on a vacation to Italy where things take an unexpected turn.”

As for the journey show has taken, how it makes a stop in this town represents quite the coup, Ed never having been here before.

“I am unfamiliar with Barrie and look forward to seeing it. My manager is in Toronto, though. This wonderful engagement came about with my performing in Hannibal, MO and meeting Joe Anderson (former head of Barrie’s Talk is Free Theatre). Joe suggested to my daughter Liza that she should get in touch with (current TiFT head honcho) Arkady (Spivak) and she did. Liza is the booking agent of our show and stage manager.”

Asner, of course, had something of a star turn as Lou Grant (a part that extended into his own spinoff drama series late in the 1970s), but the strength of MTM was shown in its ensemble performances, by people whom Asner still sees regularly

“I speak to and see Valerie (Harper), and Gavin (MacLeod) actually came to one of these performances in the Palm Springs area, Betty (White) and I come together for animal causes, Cloris (Leachman) and I have attended several of the same functions in recent years, Georgia Engel and Betty also came to a reading we had two years ago. I even keep in touch with John Amos, who narrated a chapter of our audiobook (Weinberger/Asner) The Grouchy Historian.”

A Man and his Prostate plays Georgian Theatre, Tuesday, April 24. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Click here for tickets.