Actor, activist and philanthropist Ed Asner has passed away at age 91, confirmed by his publicist. He was surrounded by family in Los Angeles, where he passed away peacefully. Asner is best known for his role as Lou Grant on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff Lou Grant. He is the most awarded male performer in Emmy history having seven wins, five of which were for his role as Grant. In 2001 he also received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Asner was born on November 15, 1929 in Kansas City. His acting career started in theater and he helped found the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago, which eventually led to The Second City. He got his first role on Broadway in the 1960 production of Face of a Hero. He began his career on TV in 1957 on Studio One. After having a few guest starring roles, he landed his role as Lou Grant in the comedy series The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970, which lasted until 1977. His character was so popular, it was granted a spinoff drama show titled Lou Grant which lasted until 1982, and even made guest appearances in Rhoda and Roseanne. He would continue to be a series regular in other shows such as Thunder Alley, The Bronx Zoo, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He also gave Emmy winning performances in two miniseries, Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man. His most roles were in the shows Cobra Kai, Grace and Frankie, and Dead to Me.
Asner also appeared in movies such as Elf, which was one of many movies where he played Santa Claus, and was a voice over in many animated movies and TV series. His voiceover work includes Up, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, the Spider-Man series, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Batman: The Animated Series, and The Boondocks.
He served as president of the SAG from 1981-1985 after the 1980 SAG strike. While he was president, he opposed the U.S. policy in Central America. Asner has supported the efforts to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and the movement to establish the California One Care, a single payer health care program. In 2017 the Ed Asner Family Center opened, where his son Matt Asner, and his daughter-in-law Nava Paskowitz Asner, provide counseling services, support groups, enrichment programs, and camps to special needs individuals and their families.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Mr. Asner‘s family and friends.