Ed Asner, Of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' Fame, Dies At The Age Of 91

Ed Asner, Of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' Fame, Dies At The Age Of 91

The actor has won a record of seven Emmy Awards five of which he won for the same character on different TV shows.

Ed Asner, best known for being the lovable grumpy man onscreen has passed away at the age of 91. Asner's family released an official statement via the actor's Twitter account stating: "We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully. Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head – Goodnight dad. We love you." He died of natural causes, early Sunday morning at home, surrounded by his family. Wishes and condolences poured in from his fans across the two generations whose lives he had touched with his roles. 



Asner is best known for his role as Lou Grant, the boss in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and subsequently in the spin-off Lou Grant. He has managed the rare feat of playing the same character in both a comedy and a drama series, for which he also won multiple awards. The actor has won a record of seven Emmy Awards. He received three of these for playing the news director/producer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and two more awards for his role as city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune newspaper on CBS’ Lou Grant, reported The Hollywood Reporter. The other two Emmy's was for his roles in the 1976 mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man, as Nick Nolte’s bitter immigrant father, and the 1977 mini-series Roots, in which he played a slave-ship captain with scruples. 



Asner was born on November 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri. The New YorkTimes reported that he was the youngest of five children of Orthodox Jewish immigrants, Morris David Asner, a junkyard owner from Poland, and Lizzie (Seliger) Asner, from Russia. He always had an interest in theater and even after his stint in the army, he came back to Chicago to work with the Playwrights Theater Club and the Compass Players, a precursor of the Second City comedy troupe. He then turned to act in TV shows and left a mark as Lou. 



More recently, he has been a part of TV shows like The Good Wife, The Middle, Grace and Frankie, Hot in Cleveland—in which he guest-starred—and had recurring roles on The Practice and ER. But the most important feature that made him lovable to a whole new generation of filmgoers was when he voiced the role of Carl, the old widower in the Oscar-winning animated Disney film, Up. Before this, he also played Santa Claus in the Will Ferrell-comedy, Elf. Additionally, he has also lent his voice to many other animated films and TV shows including, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Batman: The Animated Series, among others. 



“To me, the best performances come from those milieus where you create the family,” Asner had stated in a 1999 interview. “Of bolstering each other, of love for each other’s work, of trying to help each other, of trying to get the best out of each other. And I believe it pays off.” In one of his last interviews, he spoke about the impact the pandemic had on his life. "It changed my life. It seems like it’s changed everybody’s life — and I think it’s changed performing and creativity as much as anything else," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "My eyesight is not the greatest and my hearing is not the greatest, so I don’t go out much anyway. I sit here most of the time, bored as hell, not sure which way to turn. I don’t know. I’m waiting for the next gig, and they’re slower in coming in now, I can tell you."

He is survived by two daughters, Liza and Katie Asner; two sons, Charles and Matthew, and 10 grandchildren.