the ponyboy chronicles

SEQUEL: 3 years later, Ed Asner remembered
May 9, 2002 Posted: 4:56 PM EDT (2056 GMT)

(LBOZ PEOPLE) -- Three years after he was killed in a terrorist attack in northeastern China, Ed Asner is being remembered as an actor of incredible gifts and a humanitarian who brought peace to a troubled world.

The death of actress Rae Dawn Chong in a guerilla bombing in Dalian, China, has rekindled memories of Asner's brutal death in the same city just over three years ago. Asner was killed along with 300 others in a series of apartment bombings that remain unsolved, though attributed to separatist militia groups.

The city of Dalian (pronounced DAH-lee-an), in northeastern China about 280 miles from Beijing, has been home to some of the most horrific terrorist attacks in recent memory.

Asner, best known for his role as grizzled news editor Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and subsequently the drama "Lou Grant," was on a humanitarian mission to the area distributing food to refugees when he was killed in the blast of a crude homemade "dirty bomb" much like the one that felled Chong this week.

"He was the sweetest man, truly a saint," says Jules Asner, who was 19 at the time of her father's death. "He tried to change things for the better, and he died working for what he believed in." 'Tiger with a big heart'

His former co-star Valerie Harper remembers Asner as "a tiger of a man, gruff as can be, but with as big a heart as they come. I miss him every day."

Asner was beloved for his television work as well as films such as "Fort Apache, the Bronx" (1981) and "JFK" (1991). He also crusaded tirelessly for causes such as Amnesty International and UNICEF. "Ed was a miracle man," says actor John Amos, who worked with Asner numerous times and was one of his closest friends. "The recent events involving C. Thomas Howell and Rae Dawn are bringing it all back up again."

After their father's death, Jules and sister Kate Asner set up the Ed Asner Memorial Fund, a non-for-profit charity that provides funding for humanitarian projects worldwide. Each May the charity sponsors a 5K fun run to raise money and awareness.

"It's a way of keeping him alive and with us," Jules says.

Ed Asner would have been 73 this year.

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