Ed Asner, the American actor who appeared as Lou Grant on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and spin-off Lou Grant, and voiced Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s 2009 animated film Up, has died at the age of 91.
The news was confirmed by Asner’s family on social media earlier today. “We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” reads the statement. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head- Goodnight dad. We love you.”
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.
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) August 29, 2021
Born in 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri, Edward David Asner would go on to become one of TV’s most decorated actors, with an enormous list of acting credits. He is best known for portraying newsman Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970 to 1977.
From 1977 to 1982 he reprised the role in a titular spin-off series, Lou Grant, which spanned 114 episodes. Asner earned three of his seven Emmy awards for portraying the character – one for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and two for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
Other achievements included a slew of Golden Globes, and Emmys for his appearances in Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. Asner’s onscreen appearances in recent years included episodes of The Good Wife, Criminal Minds, Cobra Kai and Grace and Frankie. He also portrayed Santa Claus in 2003’s Elf.
Asner also maintained an extensive voice acting career, appearing as including as J. Jonah Jameson on the animated Spider-Man series in the 1990s, as Hudson in Gargoyles, and as a Jedi Master in a pair of Star Wars games. Most notably, he portrayed elderly widower Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s 2009 animated film Up, receiving widespread acclaim for his performance. Asner reprised the role for Dug Days, a Disney+ animated series based on the film that will premiere this week
Asner also served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild and played a prominent role in the guild’s 1980 labour strike. He was also an active supporter of many other causes, and was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Tributes have poured in for Asner from the entertainment world, including from the likes of Michael Moore, George Takei, John Carpenter, Vicnent D’Onofrio and Yvette Nicole Brown. See some of those below.
Making my 1st film, Roger & Me, I was broke so I wrote to some famous people to ask for help. Only one responded: Ed Asner. “I don’t know you, kid, but here’s 500 bucks” said the note attached to the check. “Sounds like it’ll be a great film. I was an autoworker once.” R.I.P. Ed pic.twitter.com/AuGCNlyNnC
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) August 29, 2021
Ed Asner, who won seven Emmy awards including five for the unforgettable role of Lou Grant, has passed away. He was a giant on the screen, and a philanthropist, too. A man of true heart and talent. He will be missed.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 29, 2021
Ed Asner was a talented actor and a very nice man. He always had a twinkle in his eye. Rest In Peace, Ed.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) August 29, 2021
Ed Asner won seven Emmys, helped organize a labor strike, played Santa Claus, voiced a Jedi, and that’s maybe like 2% of the things he did. Absolute legend. https://t.co/qlh6vz7gQe
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 29, 2021
The great Ed Asner.@TheOnlyEdAsner
What an inspiration he was to me as a young actor.
Not to mention the years of laughs he brought into my household when I was kid.
Thank you Ed.
My heart goes out to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/qb0W98Gwvu
— Vincent D'Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) August 29, 2021
💔 I will always remember the story @NiecyNash told of his kindness to her when she was just starting out & how he then came to her #WalkOfFame Ceremony decades later. ❤️🕊#EdAsner, the Iconic Lou Grant on Two Acclaimed TV Series, Dies at 91. https://t.co/TQj5cTDkJJ
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) August 29, 2021