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Lessons from Ed Asner as he plays FDR

Marketplace Staff Oct 21, 2009

Lessons from Ed Asner as he plays FDR

Marketplace Staff Oct 21, 2009


Bill Radke: In the Great Depression, the U.S. turned to Franklin Roosevelt. In the worst economy since the Great Depression, we can turn to Roosevelt again, in the form of a one-man show touring the country. The show is called “FDR” and the star is Ed Asner. He’s best known as Lou Grant of the old Mary Tyler Moore show. And more recently as high-flying Carl Fredricksen of Pixar’s hit movie “Up.” And now Esner is playing the first president he ever knew. Ed Anser, good morning.

Ed Asner: Good morning, Bill.

Radke: What do you remember about Roosevelt?

Asner: I was 15, coming home from school when I heard the news of his death and it was like the ground had been wiped away.

Radke: Why did it scare you?

Asner: Because he been god, the father, for so many years. All my life I’d been influenced by him in Washington, and I knew nothing else about Roosevelt.

Radke: What do you think FDR could teach us about handling this recession?

Asner: He presented the National Recovery Act, which the Supreme Court ruled against, which started him off on his battle against the Supreme Court. I went to a high school, for instance, and that’s one of the most beautiful edifices that you could find. It’s still gorgeous, and still operative. That was a product of the WPA [Works Progress Administration]. There is not WPA in the country right now. I would like to see something like that occurring to help make up for these unbelievable job losses that we’ve undergone.

Radke: Yeah, that was the mother of all stimulus packages.

Asner: It was.

Radke: All this thinking you’re doing about FDR’s time, the Great Depression — How does that affect your reaction to today’s financial mess?

Asner: I’m negative about it. I don’t think the reaction by government, by President Obama, has been sufficient. You hear people who are threatened about losing their homes, etc. And you hear about the stimulus packages, and so little of it gravitating down towards the homeowner, the job seeker. I can only feel that something is lacking. It ain’t over.

Radke: Actor/performer Ed Asner. Now touring in a one-man show, “FDR.” Thank you very much.

Asner: Thank you.

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