Monday, August 30, 2021

R.I.P. Mary Tyler Moore Show, Up actor Ed Asner


 Legendary actor, political activist, and—primarily to a younger generation of movie fans—voice actor Ed Asner has died.


 Asner played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler More Show and its more dramatic spin-off Lou Grant, with those two shows getting him five of his seven Emmy awards (a total that made him the most-honored male performer in the history of the Emmys, with only Mary Tyler Moore herself, Cloris Leachman, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus getting more trophies).

 Also, though he played Santa in modern holiday classic Elf, Asner’s most iconic role arguably came even more recently, with him starring as bitter old grump Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's UP. 

According to his publicist, who confirmed the news to Variety, the 91-year-old Asner died surrounded by his family.

Asner was born in Missouri in 1929, the child of Jewish immigrants, and didn’t start acting professionally until after he had finished serving with the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the war (with which he worked as part of a touring company that put on plays for U.S. military camps in Europe). Asner moved to New York after the war and started working as a theatrical actor, landing his first Broadway role in Face Of A Hero with Jack Lemmon in the early ‘60s.

He started working in television around that same time, making memorable appearances on The Outer LimitsRoute 66, and The Untouchables.

 It wasn’t until 1970 when he joined the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show that he got his first longterm, regular TV gig. 

As Lou Grant, he was a seemingly hard-drinking and hard-edged newspaperman who papered over his inner softness with a gruff exterior as part of his transition from print journalism to TV journalism. 

He played Lou Grant for seven years and over 150 episodes on The Mary Tyler Moore Show before resurrecting the character for the Lou Grant spin-off.

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