Vale: Ed Asner
Veteran US actor, best known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show & Lou Grant, has died.
Veteran US actor Ed Asner, best known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant, has died aged 91.
He died at his home surrounded by his family.
His family confirmed the death on social media, writing, “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.”
Asner starred as irascible boss Lou Grant on hit series The Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1970 to 1977. Alongside Mary Tyler Moore the cast included Ted Knight, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman and surviving cast member, Betty White. He won three Emmys for his work on the show (he was nominated for an Emmy 20 times).
He had the rare feat of a spin-off series, Lou Grant, playing the same character but in a drama, from 1977 – 1982. He believed the show was cancelled by CBS due to his outspoken political views, not due to ratings.
There were numerous TV credits including Route 66, Stoney Burke, The Reporter, Mission: Impossible, The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, The Invaders, W.I.T.C.H., The Virginian, Rhoda, Roseanne, Thunder Alley, The Bronx Zoo, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Hawaii Five-O (both versions), Police Story, Roots, Rich Man Poor Man XXIII, Dead to Me, Cobra Kai and Papa Giovanni: Ioannes.
Asner was known for his liberal politics and his stint as Screen Actors Guild president in the 1980s when he criticised US involvement in Central America during the administration of a previous head of the actors’ union, then-president Ronald Reagan. He also frequently clashed with conservative actor Charlton Heston.
In 2009 Asner provided the voice for the main character, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen, in animated film, Up, who after the death of his beloved wife ties balloons to his house and floats off to fulfil his fantasy of exploring South America.
“I didn’t really put my toe into the water of comedy until I went up to read for Mary Tyler Moore. I was afraid of it,” Asner said in 1995 .
“Not that I couldn’t do an initial spark of humour but I didn’t know how to maintain it.”