Ed Asner, the burly and prolific character actor, and 7-time Emmy award winner has passed away at the age of 91 on Sunday.
His passing was confirmed by his family on Asner’s official Twitter account, where there was a note from his children who said, “We are sorry to say 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, built like the football linemen he once was, was a journeyman actor in films and TV and became a star in 1970 when he was hired to play Lou Grant on the comedy, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
For seven seasons he was the rumpled boss to Moore’s energetic and cheerful Mary Richards at the fictional Minneapolis TV newsroom where both worked. He later played the lovable newsman In the drama of the same name, “Lou Grant,” for five years. His character in both shows was that of a gruff but lovable newsman. Both shows were big hits and made him a middle age star.
These two shows were his best-known works and provided proof of his comedic and dramatic acting skills. These roles brought Asner three best supporting actor Emmys on “The Mary Tyler Moore” show and two best actor awards on “Lou Grant.” He also won Emmys for his roles in the miniseries “Rich Man, Poor Man” (1975-76) and “Roots” (1976-77). He was also the former president of the Screen Actors Guild.
Asner was the most decorated male performer in Emmy’s history with seven, and received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2001. He is also the recipient of five Golden Globe Awards and earned his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992.
He had more than 300 acting credits, and performed in many other notable works, and remained active throughout his 70’s and 80’s in a variety of film and TV roles. In 2003, he played Santa Claus in Will Ferrell’s hit film “Elf.” He was John Goodman’s father in the short-lived 2004 CBS comedy “Center of the Universe” and the voice of the elderly hero in the hit 2009 Pixar release, “Up.” More recently, he was in such TV series as “Forgive Me” and “Dead to Me.”
Ed Asner is survived by his four children: twins Matthew and Liza, daughter Kate, and son Charles.