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Ed Asner Facebook page, and pledge to Dormont theater, called a hoax

| Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, 2:14 p.m.

A Facebook page alleging that actor Ed Asner will double donations to Dormont's Hollywood Theater, which is raising money to upgrade its projection system, is apparently a hoax, according to the actor's publicist.

Last week, a Facebook account with the name, a short biography and photos of Asner — known for his roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and as the voice of Carl in Disney/Pixar's “Up” — made a post calling attention to the Hollywood's fundraising efforts and claiming that the actor would double every donation.

But Los Angeles publicist Charles Sherman said Asner does not have a Facebook page, and has nothing to do with the post.

“Ed's not even on Facebook,” Sherman said. “Ed has nothing to do with it. We're trying to find out who actually did this.”

Requests for comment sent to the page's administrator and to Facebook representatives had not been returned Monday afternoon.

Although the page is being called a sham, it resulted in about $500 to $750 in donations to the nonprofit theater's “Go Digital or Go Dark” page on Indiegogo.com , said Chad Hunter, executive director of the Hollywood. Hunter said he hoped the hoax wouldn't lead donors to rescind their pledges.

“If anybody wants their money back because of that, we'd be happy to oblige,” Hunter added. “We wouldn't want to receive donations under the guise of a hoax. But I hope everybody who contributed did so because they believe in our cause, they believe in independent theater.”

The single-screen, independent theater on Potomac Avenue is trying to raise about $75,000 to upgrade to a digital movie distribution and projection system, since most film distributors are moving away from 35 mm film. That makes it hard for the theater to get copies of the cult and classic movies it specializes in.

Hunter said he was initially hopeful, but also skeptical, when a patron told him about the alleged Ed Asner pledge. The pledge was made on the Hollywood's Facebook page via the fake Ed Asner page.

“It's Facebook, so it's kind of hard to take anything at face value,” Hunter said. “I tried to get in touch with him through Facebook, and I reached out to our board members who have friends of friends who know (Asner).”

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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