Ed Asner Sounds Off On Intelligent Design

He spoke emotionally about Bryan, who was a great supporter of peace and resigned as secretary of state under Woodrow Wilson in protest over World War II but had his legacy reduced to what happened during the Scopes Monkey trial.

"I have great regrets and sorrow that his last act in life was to be considered a fool by many thinking people for the positions he took in the trial," said Asner.

Trading Politics for Laughs

Asner plans to remain with the touring group through January and is considering other roles for next year.

It may still be tough for television audiences to embrace him in a comedy beyond his classic role as Lou Grant on the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," but he'll try to add to that repertoire by teaming up with another comedic star.

"I'm supposed to do a pilot with Leslie Nielsen," said Asner.

The series, "One Hundred Things To Do Before You Die," has the pair working on that list by tackling some outrageous ideas. "Leslie and I go off in an RV and we take suggestions, but we have some of our own as to what we'd like to do before we die," said Asner. "Of course, most of them are silly and cute and fun."

His wish list includes learning how to parallel park a semi-truck, while Nielsen opts for a more active adventure. "His first choice is to go bungee jumping," said Asner who is less enthusiastic about leaping from a tall height. "No, no. That's not my cup of tea, but he wants to do it."

He joked that he may be getting some solid training for the traveling series by going on the road with "The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial."

Given the contentious issue at the heart of the play, Asner said the tour is succeeding "far better" than he expected, although he wonders about detractors. Several of the actors have sustained minor injuries, leaving Asner to jokingly question if sabotage is involved: "I think the fundamentalists are out to get us."

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