On Saturday, July 20th, Ed Asner and 150 of his friends came out to the beautiful Haworth Showroom at the Water Garden in Santa Monica, Calif. to play poker and raise $40,000 for Autism Speaks. The tournament began at 7pm PT and carried on until after midnight, as 75 players vied for one of the top three prizes. The evening featured a motley assortment of celebrities, each there to support Asner and the cause. Among them were Don Cheadle, Jason London, Kato Kaelin.
In their opening remarks, both Asner and his son Matthew, the executive director of Southern California for Autism Speaks, emphasized the importance of events like this one to raise awareness and funds for "one of the greatest issues of our time." Asner was often his playful self, joking and holding court with the crowd. He told the crowd that he wants to establish the Ed Asner & Friend’s Poker Tournament as an annual event and hopes to see it grow every year.