We’ve lost another legend as veteran actor, activist, and philanthropist Ed Asner has died. Asner, who’s brought laughter to millions with his role as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show along with many other roles, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning while surrounded by family members. A cause of death was not revealed for the beloved entertainer. He was 91 years old.
A television icon, Asner is the most awarded male performer in Emmy history with seven total wins for his acting. Five of those were for his most recognized role as Lou Grant, one of the most popular characters of classic television. Playing the role in the 70s and 80s on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Asner also reprised that role for his own spinoff series Lou Grant, which ran for five seasons between 1977-82.
Asner’s appearance on both shows makes him one of very few actors to play the same character in both a comedy and a drama. He won three Supporting Actor in a Comedy Television Series Emmy Awards for playing Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later picked up another two wins for Lead Actor in a Drama Television Series for the spinoff. He also won Outstanding Lead Actor for 1976’s Rich Man, Poor Man and Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor for 1977’s Roots.
In addition to his small screen work, Answer has appeared in many movies over the years. He notably portrayed the villain to John Wayne as Bart Jason in the 1966 Western El Dorado. Some of his other memorable movie roles include Guy Banister in JFK, Uncle Charlie in Hard Rain, and the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s Up. He also played Santa Claus in many features, including 1996’s The Story of Santa Claus with Betty White and 2003’s Elf with Will Ferrell.
Over the past decade, Asner continued to act through his 80s into his early 90s. He would have roles on TV shows like Working Class, Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and The Good Wife. Last year, he appeared in an episode of Modern Family and had a recurring role on Briarpatch. Asner also had sizable voice roles on the animated shows Gargoyles, Spider-Man, and Freakazoid!. His final movie roles are for 2020’s M.O.M.: Mothers of Monsters and Senior Entourage.
As a prolific TV actor, Asner has been seen in many, many other notable TV shows over several decades. His other small screen credits include The Fugitive, Insight, Mission: Impossible, Police Story, Hawaii Five-O, Batman: The Animated Series, Animaniacs, Roseanne, The X-Files, The Simpsons, and CSI: NY.
Asner’s death comes just days before his last-ever role comes along in the new Disney+ series Dug Days. Serving as a spinoff series to Up, the show brings back Asner to reprise the role of Carl, as he’d already completed all of his voice acting for the character. The series will debut on Disney+ on Sept. 1.
At this time, our thoughts are with Asner’s friends and family as they navigate through the pain of his passing. Through both comedy and drama, Asner has long been one of the finest actors of our time, and he will be badly misseed by many. May he rest in peace. This news comes to us from Deadline.