Ed Asner, Beloved Actor from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant, Dies at 91

Edward Asner, known best for his iconic roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Lou Grant, passed away at the age of 91.

Asner has been a successful, working actor for the last 64 years, without a significant break in all that time.

Most recently seen in an episode of Grace and Frankie that Netflix dropped unexpectedly, Asner had seven projects in various stages of post-production and 11 further projects in the works.

As Lou Grant or Mr. Grant, as Mary Richards called him, Asner spanned two series, one a comedy and the other a drama.

Grant was the evening news producer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, moving to his own headlining drama by taking a step down from his role as a TV producer to the city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune.

Although mainly a television actor, Asner’s film roles included family fare like the Award-winning UP, in which he voiced the lead, Carl Fredricksen, to Elf, where he played Santa Claus.

Asner received seven Emmy Awards in his career, including five as Lou Grant — three for The Mary Tyler Moore show and two for Lou Grant.

He’s one of only two actors who have received an Emmy for the same character across genres. The other is Uzo Aduba.

Asner also served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, following in the footsteps of Charlton Heston, with whom he wildly disagreed, and received a SAG Life Achievement Award for his efforts.

An adventurous young man who dropped out of college for a brief stint as a salesman, he received his wish courtesy of Uncle Sam when he was drafted in 1951.

After the service, Asner took to the stage before heading to Los Angeles in 1961. His resume looks like a walk through entertainment history.

He worked with many heralded performers, including Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft, and with Elvis Presley in two features — working with Mary Tyler Moor in Change of Habit in 1969.

It was Lou Grant and his deadpan dislike for Mary’s spunk and office shenanigans in general who made him a household name and a cherished performer for years to come.

His comic timing on The Mary Tyler Moore show was so on point that you’d never expect he would have to brilliantly pioruette for Lou Grant, as the series covered serious issues, but he made it look easy.

If his role was iconic, the man himself was a national treasure.

Our hearts go out to his family. May you rest in peace, Mr. Asner.

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She’s a member of the Critic’s Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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