Asner, Edward, 1929-2021

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Edward Asner (November 15, 1929 – August 29, 2021) was an American actor and a president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is known for playing Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s, on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same character in both a comedy and a drama. He is the most honored male performer in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, having won seven – five for portraying Lou Grant (three as Supporting Actor in a Comedy Television Series on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and two as Lead Actor in a Dramatic Television Series on spin-off Lou Grant). His other Emmys were for performances in two television miniseries: Rich Man, Poor Man (1976), where he won for Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Performance in a TV series, and Roots (1977), for which he won for Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a TV series.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised across the river in suburban Kansas City, Kansas, he attended Wyandotte High School and the University of Chicago. From 1951 to 1953, Asner served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps and appeared in plays that toured Army camps in Europe. Upon demobilisation, Asner joined the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago but soon progressed to New York where he acted in both Broadway and off-Broadway plays. Eventually, Asner began to make inroads as a television actor, having made his TV debut in 1957 on Studio One. He made his film debut in 1962, in the Elvis Presley vehicle Kid Galahad.

Asner was best known for his character Lou Grant, who was first introduced on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. In 1977, after Moore's series ended, Asner's character was given his own show, Lou Grant (1977–82). In contrast to the Mary Tyler Moore series, a thirty-minute award-winning comedy about television journalism, the Lou Grant series was an hour-long award-winning drama about newspaper journalism. Other television series starring Asner in regular roles include Thunder Alley, The Bronx Zoo, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Asner was acclaimed for his role in the ABC miniseries Roots, as Captain Davies, the morally conflicted captain of the Lord Ligonier, the slave ship that brought Kunta Kinte to America.

Asner had an extensive voice acting career. In 1987, he played the eponymous character, George F. Babbitt, in the L.A. Classic Theatre Works' radio theatre production of Sinclair Lewis's novel, Babbitt. He also provided the voices for Joshua on Joshua and the Battle of Jericho (1986) for Hanna-Barbera, J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s animated television series Spider-Man (1994–98); Hoggish Greedly on Captain Planet and the Planeteers (1990–95); Hudson on Gargoyles (1994–96); Jabba the Hutt on the radio version of Star Wars; Master Vrook from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel; Roland Daggett on Batman: The Animated Series (1992–94); Cosgrove on Freakazoid!; Ed Wuncler on The Boondocks (2005–14); and Granny Goodness in various DC Comics animated series. Asner provided the voice of famed American orator Edward Everett in the 2017 documentary film The Gettysburg Address. He provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in the Academy Award-winning 2009 Pixar film Up, receiving great critical praise for the role.

Between 1981 and 1985, Asner served twice as President of the Screen Actor's Guild. In 1996, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and in 2002 received the Screen Actors Guild's Life Achievement Award. He passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 91 on August 29, 2021.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Actors' Equity Association. Paul Robeson award ceremonies collection [sound recording], 1978-1996. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Paul Robeson award ceremonies collection [sound recording], 1978-1996 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Daniel, Douglass K. Papers 98-253; 2000-139; 2000-165., 1977-1996 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn Arthur Unger collection of recorded interviews [sound recording] The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Fanny Howe Papers, 1924-1993 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Guide to the Daily Worker and Daily World Photographs Collection, 1920-2001 Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
referencedIn City Club of Cleveland Forum sound recordings, 1960-1989, 1948-2011 Cleveland State University
referencedIn American Movement for World Government records, ca. 1953-1987 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985. Papers, 1929-1991. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Lloyd, David. Lou proposes, 1976 Sept. 10 / written by David Lloyd ; created by James L. Brooks and Allen Burns. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf American Movement for World Government. American Movement for World Government records, ca. 1953-1987. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Alix Jeffry additional papers, 1935-1993. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Jeffry, Alix, 1929-1993. Photographs, 1952-1974 Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn John Eldon Thayer collection of motion picture memorabilia, 1916-1979. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Lloyd, David. Mary's aunt returns, 1976 Jan. 2 / written by David Lloyd ; created by Allan Burns and James L. Brooks. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Kline, Steve. Pack, 1980 June 16 / by Steve Kline. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Howe, Fanny. Fanny Howe papers, 1924-2009. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Harvard Law School Forums Records Harvard Law School Library Langdell Hall Cambridge, MA 02138
referencedIn Records of the Office of the Staff Secretary. 1976 - 1981. Presidential Files. 1977 - 1981. 2/28/79
referencedIn Daniel, Douglass K. Daniel, Douglass K., Papers, 1977-1996 University of Texas Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Actors' Equity Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Actors' Equity Association. Paul Robeson Award corporateBody
associatedWith American Movement for World Government corporateBody
associatedWith Bessie, Alvah Cecil, 1904-1985. person
associatedWith City Club of Cleveland corporateBody
associatedWith Communist Party of the United States of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Daniel, Douglass K. person
employeeOf General motors corporation corporateBody
correspondedWith Harvard Law School Forum corporateBody
associatedWith Howe, Fanny. person
associatedWith Howe, Fanny Quincy. person
associatedWith Jeffry, Alix person
associatedWith Jeffry, Alix. person
associatedWith Kline, Steve. person
associatedWith Lloyd, David. person
associatedWith Lortel, Lucille person
associatedWith Saddler, Donald person
associatedWith Thayer, John Eldon, 1899-1980 person
associatedWith Unger, Arthur person
memberOf United States. Army corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Chicago. corporateBody
associatedWith Wynner, Edith person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Kansas City MO US
Chicago IL US
New York City NY US
Los Angeles CA US
Subject
Occupation
Actors, American
Political activists
Union President
Activity

Person

Birth 1929-11-15

Death 2021-08-29

Male

Americans

English

Information

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