Asner, former Chairman of the Screen Actors Guild, is best known for his role as Lou Grant in both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its fallout Lou Grant, managing the extremely rare feet of playing the same character in both a comedy and a drama series.
He is the most awarded male performer in Emmy history with seven wins, including five for playing Lou Grant. He also received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2001.
Asner’s long list of credits also includes the movies Elf, one of the many films in which he played Santa Claus and the Oscar-winning Pixar film Up, in which he voiced lead, Carl Fredricksen. His most recent major roles have included acs in several Emmy-nominated comedy series, Cobra Kaï, playing Johnny Lawrence’s stepfather, Sid Weinberg, Grace and Frankie and Dead to me.
Ed Asner, Maureen McCormick, Kevin Smith, Marie Osmond and many more pay tribute to the late Gavin MacLeod: “My heart is broken”
Born November 15, 1929 in Kansas City, Asner began his acting career in theater and helped found the Playwrights Theater Company in Chicago, a predecessor of The Second City. He landed his first Broadway role in the 1960 production of Face of a hero alongside Jack Lemmon. Asner made his television debut in 1957 on an anthology Studio Un.
A series of guest roles led him to his casting as Lou Grant in the famous 1970 half-hour comedy series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. After the series ended in 1977, Asner’s character received his own spinoff series, an hour-long drama Lou Grant (1977-1982). Additionally, Asner has made appearances as Lou Grant on two other shows, Rhoda and Roseanne.
Asner was also a series regular on Thunder Alley, Bronx Zoo et Aaron Sorkin Studio 60 sur le Sunset Strip. He also delivered acclaimed performances on two hugely popular mini-series, Roots and Rich man, poor man, which have both won him Emmy Awards.
In addition to Up, Asner’s full voiceover resume includes providing Joshua’s vocals on JOshua and the Battle of Jericho (1986) for Hanna-Barbera, J. Jonah Jameson on the Spider Man series (1994-98), Hoggish Greedly on Captain Planet and the Planets (1990-95), Roland Daggett sur Batman: The Animated Series (1992-94), Ed Wuncler on Les Boondocks (2005-14) and Granny Goodness in various DC animated series.
In 2016, Asner took on the role of Holocaust survivor Milton Saltzman in Jeff Cohen’s play. The soap myth in a reading at the Bruno Walter Theater in Lincoln Center in New York. For the next three years, he performed the play in cities across the United States, until the tour was thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Asner was president of the SAG from 1981 to 1985 after emerging as a leader during the SAG strike in 1980.
The Ed Asner Family Center, started in 2017 by Asner’s son Matt Asner and daughter-in-law Navah Paskowitz Asner, offers counseling, support groups, enrichment programs and camps for people with special needs and their families.