NEW YORK -- Ed Asner called fellow actor Charlton Heston a 'Reagan stooge' Monday, heating up a feud between the two that began when Asner took over the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild.
But Asner denied that he had said Heston and the White House were to blame for the recent cancellation of his series, 'Lou Grant,' on CBS-TV.
'The White House, no,' Asner said from his room in a Manhattan hotel. But Asner noted, 'Heston's continually drawing attention -- in certain cases falsely -- to my activity with respect to El Salvador contributed over the long haul to the political climate that led to the cancellation of the show.'
Asner was in Manhattan for a biannual membership meeting of the Screen Actors Guild. He said he called a news conference, where he called Heston a 'Reagan stooge,' as a private citizen to meet with reporters. He disassociated his comments about Heston, a former president of the Guild, from his presidency of the Guild.
Heston, reached by telephone in Hollywood, told UPI: 'I can't complain about Mr. Asner's remarks. He last called me a scumbag, and now I'm a stooge. Obviously I'm doing better.
'I'd rather he was back in his show than president of the Screen Actors Guild. I just wish that he would act, which he is very good at, instead of telling other actors how to run their union,' Heston added.
Asner complained that Heston has harped on Asner's contributions for medical aid to El Savadorans -- contributions that Asner said are made as a private citizen. He also said Heston characterizes his involvement as aid to leftist guerrillas.
The actors have also clashed over Guild policies, including expansion of Guild membership to movie extras.