/ : Ed Asner


Birth name: Yitzak Edward Asner
Birthdate: November 15, 1929
Birthplace: Kansas City, KS
Occupations: Actor, Producer
 
Ed Asner
 Photo
 
 

Claim to Fame: Played Lou Grant on the long-running CBS sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77)

Significant Other(s):
Wife: Nancy Lou Sykes, actress; married March 23, 1959; divorced
Carol Jean Vogelman; no longer together
Wife: Cindy Gilmore, producer; born 1940; married August 2, 1998

Family:
Father: Morris David Asner
Mother: Lizzie Asner (née Seliger)
Brother: Ben, record store owner; born 1916; died March 3, 1986 of a cerebral hemorrhage in Kansas City, Missouri
Siblings: three others; Asner is the youngest of five
Son: Matthew, producer, actor; twin of Liza
Daughter: Liza; twin
Daughter: Kate (aka Kathryn), actress; appeared with father and brother Matthew onstage in The Gathering (1999)
Son: Charles; born 1987; mother, Carol Vogelman
Stepson: Robin; mother, Cindy Gillmore

Biography
American actor Ed Asner grew up having to defend himself both vocally and physically; he was raised in the only Jewish family in a neighborhood. A born competitor, Asner played championship football in high school, and while serving in World War II, he organized a top-notch basketball team which toured most of liberated Europe. (An observation without further comment: Ed Asner lists his birth year as 1929. World War II ended in 1945.) Asner's performing career got its start while he was announcing for his high school radio station; moving to Chicago in the 1950s, the actor was briefly a member of the Playwrights Theatre Club until he went to New York to try his luck on Broadway. Asner starred for several years in the off-Broadway production Threepenny Opera, and, toward the end of the 1950s, he picked up the occasional check as a film actor for industrial short subjects and TV appearances. Between 1960 and 1965 Asner established himself as one of TV's most reliable villains; thanks to his resemblance to certain Soviet politicians, the actor was particularly busy during the "spy show" boom of 1964-66. He also showed up briefly as a regular on the New York-filmed dramatic series Slattery's People. Film roles became larger (Marlowe [1967]), but it was in a relatively minor part as a cop in Elvis Presley's Change of Habit (1969) that Asner first worked with Mary Tyler Moore. In 1970, over Mary's initial hesitation (she wasn't certain he was funny enough), Asner was cast as Lou Grant, the irascible head of the WJM newsroom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The series ran for seven seasons, during which time Asner earned three Emmy's. His new stardom allowed Asner a wider variety of select roles, including a continuing villaionous appearance on the miniseries Roots - which earned him another Emmy. When Mary Tyler Moore shut down production, Asner took his Lou Grant characterization into an hour-long dramatic weekly about a big-city newspaper: the title, of course, was Lou Grant. The series' marked liberal stance seemed to some viewers to be an extension of Asner's real-life viewpoint. While Lou Grant was in production, Asner was twice elected the head of the Screen Actors Guild, a position that he frequently utilized as a forum for his political opinions - notably his opposition to US involvement in Central America. When Asner suggested that each guild member contribute towards opposing the country's foreign policy, he clashed head to head with Charlton Heston, who wrested Asner's office from him in a highly publicized power play. Though no tangible proof has ever been offered, it was Asner's belief that Lou Grant was cancelled in 1982 thanks to his politics and not because of dwindling ratings. The actor continued to prosper professionally after Lou Grant, however, and during the remaining years of the 1980s starred in several TV movies, in addition to headlining two regular TV series: Off the Rack and The Bronx Zoo. Slowed down but hardly halted by health problems in the 1990s, Ed Asner managed to find time to appear in the weekly sitcoms Hearts Afire and Thunder Alley - atypically cast in the latter show as an ineffective grouch who was easily brow-beaten by his daughter and grandchildren.

Filmography
Greatest Adventure Stories from the Bible: Joshua and the Battle of Jericho
Shelley Duvall's Tall Tales and Legends: Darlin' Clementine
Looking Into the Face of Evil
The Last Stand: The Struggle for the Ballona Wetlands
Fixing the World
The Animal (2001)
Here's Looking at You, Kid! (2001)
Common Ground (2000)
Perfect Game (2000)
Olive, the Other Reindeer (2000)
Becoming Dick (2000)
The Kid (2000)
Above Suspicion (2000)
Bring Him Home (2000)
The Bachelor (1999)
Love and Action in Chicago (1999)
Hard Rain (1998)
The Closer (1998)
Armistead Maupin's More Tales Of The City (1998)
The Prohibition Era, Vol. 1: The Dry Crusade (1998)
The Prohibition Era, Vol. 2: The Roaring Twenties (1998)
The Prohibition Era, Vol. 3: The Road to Repeal (1998)
The Long Way Home (1997)
A Christmas Carol (1997)
Great Escapes of WWII, The Great Escape (1997)
Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press (1996)
The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest: Nuclear Netherworld (1996)
3x3 Eyes: The Legend of the Divine Demon - The Descent (1995)
3x3 Eyes: The Legend of the Divine Demon - The Key (1995)
3x3 Eyes: The Legend of the Divine Demon - The Return (1995)
Jewish Holidays Video Guide (1994)
Heads (1994)
The Expectant Father (1993)
Earth and the American Dream (1993)
Gypsy (1993)
Cruel Doubt, Part 1 (1992)
Cruel Doubt, Part 2 (1992)
Happily Ever After (1991)
JFK (1991)
Silent Motive (1991)
Switched at Birth (1991)
The Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (1991)
Good Cops, Bad Cops (1990)
Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (1990)
Reading Rainbow: Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo (1989)
Moon over Parador (1988)
A Friendship in Vienna (1988)
Jerusalem: City of Peace (1987)
Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night (1987)
Cracked Up (1987)
Less Stress in 5 Easy Steps (1986)
My Darlin' Clementine (1986)
The Christmas Star (1986)
Kate's Secret (1986)
Vital Signs (1986)
Anatomy of an Illness (1984)
A Case of Libel (1983)
Daniel (1983)
O'Hara's Wife (1982)
Fort Apache, the Bronx (1981)
A Small Killing (1981)
The Marva Collins Story (1981)
Americas in Transition (1981)
Lou Grant, Vol. 2: Hostages (197?)
Lou Grant, Vol. 3: Hoax (197?)
Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970s)
The Family Man (1979)
The Good Doctor (1978)
The Gathering (1977)
Lou Grant, Vol. 1: Cophouse (1977)
Roots (1977)
Huey Long (1977)
Roots (1977)
Gus, The Pigskin Uncle (1976)
The Life and Assassination of the Kingfish (1976)
Gus (1976)
Death Scream (1975)
Hey, I'm Alive! (1975)
The Impersonation Murder Case (1975)
The Impostor (1975)
The Wrestler (1973)
The Girl Most Likely To (1973)
Police Story (1973)
Haunts of the Very Rich (1972)
The Skin Game (1971)
The Todd Killings (1971)
The Last Child (1971)
They Call It Murder (1971)
They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970)
Do Not Throw Cushions into the Ring (1970)
Halls of Anger (1970)
The House on Greenapple Road (1970)
Fugitive, Vol. 13 (196?)
Change of Habit (1969)
Mary Tyler Moore Show, Vol. 1 (1969)
Mod Squad, Vol. 5 (1969)
Daughter of the Mind (1969)
Mission: Impossible: The Mind of Stefan Miklos (1969)
The Invaders, Vol. 7: Wall of Crystal (1968)
Gunn (1967)
The Venetian Affair (1967)
El Dorado (1967)
The Doomsday Flight (1966)
The Slender Thread (1965)
The Satan Bug (1965)
The Outer Limits, Vol. 23: Second Chance (1964)
The Outer Limits, Vol. 11: It Crawled out of Woodwork (1963)
Kid Galahad (1962)
 

Awards:
1971: Emmy: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (comedy), The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1971: Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1972: Emmy: Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (comedy), The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1975: Emmy: Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
1975: Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor in Television, The Mary Tyler Moore Show; award shared with Tim Conway
1976: Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series, Rich Man, Poor Man
1976: Golden Globe: Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series, Rich Man, Poor Man
1977: Emmy: Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series, Roots
1977: Golden Globe: Best Actor in a Television Series (drama), Lou Grant
1978: Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Lou Grant
1979: Golden Globe: Best Actor in a Television Series (drama), Lou Grant
1980: Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, Lou Grant

Factoids:
Asner's seven Emmys make him the most honored male perfomer in the award's history

Education:
University of Chicago, Illinois (1947-49)
Trained with Playwrights Theater Club and Second City, Chicago
Studied under Mike Nichols

 


 

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