My Friend Ed (USA, 56)

Directed by: Sharon Baker

Written by: Daniel Collins, Sharon Baker

My Friend Ed explores the notion of 'hero' versus 'celebrity' in a funny and poignant portrait of the roots and life-long activist career of actor Ed Asner. Seemingly hundreds of people from all walks of life know Ed simply as 'friend'. His loyalty and generosity keeps him scrambling around the world at almost 85 years of age, and he still loves good fight! One may not always agree with Ed but his ethical foundation and fearless devotion to cause make him someone to study in a cultural era obsessed with 'selfies' and an overabundance of
meaningless celebrity.

Born into an immigrant Jewish family in Kansas City, Ed began his working life in blue collar jobs before moving to New York to start an acting career in the theater. Ed's activist life really began in earnest when he moved to California in the early 60's and was soon sought out as a 'doer' and 'spokesperson' --talents that would eventually lead him to win election to the
Presidency of the Screen Actors Guild. But Ed's penchant for speaking out would also lead to the abrupt cancellation his most noted television role, Lou Grant, in 1982 when he denounced President Ronald Reagan's Salvadoran policy, participating in medical relief efforts for El Salvador's rebel opposition.

Down but not out, Ed continued his loyal opposition to the status quo, working for many causes and reinventing himself as an actor along the way. 'It's a ying and yang, ' Asner notes, ' My acting informs my activism and my activism makes me a better actor. I can't separate the two.' In recent years, Ed has attracted new generations of fans with major roles in films like Elf and Up. And if anything, his work as an advocate for dozens of causes has increased. From voicing a controversial animation for the California Teachers Union...to showing up around the country for Defenders of Wildlife, Ed is all the while going toe-to-toe with his detractors, including FOX News. Firm and ever funny, grouchy but never mean spirited, Ed Asner continues to speak out for social justice. With great gusto he pursues new artistic opportunities, often in support of emerging writers, directors and filmmakers, adding to the legions who call him their friend. Most would agree, they just don't make 'em like Ed Asner anymore and as he might say, 'That's too damn bad.'