SWC Mourns The Loss of Longtime SWC Friend & Supporter Ed Asner

August 29, 2021

The Simon Wiesenthal Center mourns the passing of Emmy award-winning actor, Ed Asner, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 91. “From the earliest days of the Wiesenthal Center, Ed Asner was there for us, generously donating his time and talent to our Museum of Tolerance and a number of the documentaries produced by our Moriah Films division,” said Wiesenthal Center Dean and Founder Rabbi Marvin Hier and Moriah Films principal Writer/Director and Executive Producer Richard Trank. 

In the mid-1980’s, Asner donated his talents to narrate Within These Walls, a short film that helped raised millions of dollars to build the Museum of Tolerance, which was under construction in Los Angeles at the time. Since the MOT opened its doors in 1993, more than 7 million visitors have heard Asner’s voice narrating the emotional conclusion to its Holocaust Exhibition, portraying individuals who stood up to Nazi oppression in the death camps. In 1997, Ed Asner was one of the principal character voices in Moriah Films’ Academy Award winning feature documentary, The Long Way Home, narrated by Morgan Freeman. “Ed captured the essence of the survivors of the Shoah who he portrayed in our film. His performance is one of the reasons that almost 25 years after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, it continues to resonate with audiences,” said Richard Trank who won the Oscar for the documentary alongside Rabbi Marvin Hier in 1998.

Ed Asner continued to donate his talents to other Moriah productions, including In Search of Peace, which Matthew Asner served as co-producer, where he read the words of David Ben-Gurion pronouncing the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948. In later years, he also narrated a number of Wiesenthal Center radio and television public service announcements.

“Ed never said no to us and we will always remain in his debt for his incredibly generous spirit and support of our work. We extend our condolences to his son Matthew, his daughters Liza and Katie and his grandchildren. May his memory always be for a blessing,” said Rabbi Hier and Trank.

For further information, please email Michele Alkin, Director of Global Communications at malkin@wiesenthal.com or Shawn Rodgers at srodgers@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international Jewish human rights organization numbering over 400.000 members. It holds consultative status at the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO).

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