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Sitcom television icon visits Northstate

By Vienna Montague, Producer
Published On: Mar 24 2014 08:58:21 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 24 2014 08:59:11 PM CDT
REDDING, Calif. -

Sitcom television icon Ed Asner, best known as Lou Grant from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, made an appearance in Redding Saturday..

His chosen topic was prison reform.

The ACLU sponsored the talk at the Pilgrim Congregational Church.

Asner focused on AB 109, a law that essentially puts low level offenders back on the street in California. 

His solution is marijuana reform.

“We should go through this laundry list of tenants of state prisons and start thinning down these long time servers caught with marijuana,” Asner said. “Dealing may be one thing, maybe, they still want to punish, but to be caught and hoisted on a petard for using is stupid.”

The 85-year-old actor also talked about his time on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, based at mythical WJMTV. The show ran from 1970 – 1977; it was a breakthrough that featured an independent career-minded woman and tackled topics like homosexuality, infertility, infidelity and equal pay for women.

 “[Working on the show was like] dying and going to heaven. Seven years of bliss ... seven years of great writing, wonderful actors to work with, and it went too fast.”