Ed Asner’s Legacy Continues with his 12th Annual Celebrity Poker Tournament for Charity

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Although actor Ed Asner left this Earthly plane at 91 years-old in 2021, his name continues to help families in Los Angeles through The Ed Asner Family Center (TEAFC). And on June 15, TEAFC is using poker to raise money to help fund its mission of being “an oasis of balance and thought, interaction, and education” for neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals and their families.

Last’s years tournament raised more than $186,000 for The Ed Asner Family Center in L.A. Can this year’s event beat it? (Image: TEAFC)

The 12 Annual Ed Asner and Friends Celebrity Poker Night takes place June 15, at 5 p.m. at Radford Studios in Studio City, which is where Asner filmed the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the spin-off “Lou Grant” in the 70s. The shows made Asner one of the most well-know actors of the time.

Last year, the tournament, also known as Poker for Ed, raised more than $186,000.

Hosted by L.A. radio personality Mark Thompson, a couple dozen celebrities and athletes have already confirmed including Haley Joel Osment, Daniel Baldwin, Maureen McCormick, Fred Melamed, Ron Funches, Joely Fisher, Holly Robinson Peete, Rodney Peete, Frances Fisher, Steve Lukather, William Stanford Davis, Mindy Sterling, Calum Worthy, Phil Lamarr, Sue Ann Pien, Kristanna Loken, Mimi Rogers, Mark L. Walberg, Daniel Ross, Rick Glassman, Yancey Arias, Johnny Dowers, Tom Malloy, Mitch Gaylord, and Gregory Harrison.

Phil Hellmuth played in the past, but the fact the tourney is being held in the middle of the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas will most likely keeps the big-name pros away from this worthwhile event.

Tickets to get inside start at $185, but if you want to play in the tournament, it costs $290. As with all charity poker tourneys, there are also various levels of corporate sponsorship starting at $2,500 and going all the way up to $50,000, which include 20 poker seats, logo placement on each table, a “Camp Ed” plaque that goes up at TEAFC, and the honor to choose which celebrity they want to play with at the first table.

It’s got to be Rodney Peete, right?

And all that money goes to a place which “provides low-cost mental health counseling services, expressive art enrichments, seasonal camps, unique adult relationship courses, as well as support groups for neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals and their families.”

Ed Asner
Ed Asner at his charity poker tournament a few years ago. He used poker to help raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for organizations focussing on autism. (Image: TEAFC)

It was founded in 2017 by Ed Asner’s son, Matthew and his wife Navah Paskowitz-Asner, who are parents to autistic children.

The programs TEAFC offers covers everything from basic life skills and job training to artistic endeavors like dance, acting, art, and writing. Professional therapists are also always available for their clients and their families.

For more information about the event, or to register or simply donate, click here.

Asner achieved fame as a TV actor in the 70s, but acted in TV shows and movies since he got out of the Korean War in the 1950s. It was in the Army where he learned to play poker, and played casually and socially his entire life.

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