Ed Asner: Wikis


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Edward Asner

Ed Asner in 2006
Born Eddie Asner[1]
November 15, 1929 (1929-11-15) (age 80)
Kansas City, Missouri,[2]
United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1957–present
Spouse(s) Nancy Sykes (1959–1988)
Cindy Gilmore (1998–2007)

Edward Asner (born November 15, 1929) is an American film, television and voice actor and former President of the Screen Actors Guild, primarily known for his role as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series, Lou Grant. More recently, he provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's 2009 film, Up.


Early life

Asner was born Eddie Asner[1] in Kansas City, Missouri,[2] but was raised across the river in the suburban Kansas City, Kansas home of his Russian American parents, Lizzie (née Seliger), a housewife, and Morris David Asner,[3] who ran a second-hand shop.[4] He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family.[5] Asner attended historic Wyandotte High School and the University of Chicago. He served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps and, most crucially, spent many hours in the Granada movie theater in Kansas City, Kansas.


Asner playing his most famous role, as Lou Grant in Mary Tyler Moore.

Before he landed his role with Mary Tyler Moore, Asner guest starred in such television series as NBC's The Outlaws (1962), in the series finale of CBS's The Reporter, and The Invaders.

Asner is best best known for his character Lou Grant, who was first introduced on the The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. In 1977, after the end of the Mary Tyler Moore show, Asner's character was given his own show, Lou Grant, which ran from 1977-1982. In contrast to the Mary Tyler Moore show, which was a thirty minute comedy, the Lou Grant show was an hour long award-winning drama about journalism.

Asner is also known for his acclaimed role as Captain Davies, from the mini-series Roots, the man who kidnapped Kunta Kinte and sold him into slavery, a role that earned Asner an Emmy Award. While Asner's character in Roots was highly developed, full of metaphors on tortured ethics and the morality of slavery, biographer Alex Haley would later admit he had no idea who the actual Captain was who had commanded the historic slaver which had kidnapped his ancestor.

Asner was a member of the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago, but left for New York before members of that company regrouped as the Compass Players in the mid-1950s. He later made guest appearances with the successor to Compass, The Second City, and is considered part of The Second City extended family. Asner has also had an extensive voice acting career. He provided the voices for J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s animated television series Spider-Man, Hudson on Gargoyles, 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, Cosgrove on Freakazoid!, Ed Wuncler on The Boondocks, and Granny Goodness in various DC Comics animated series. Both he and his late friend Linda Gary voiced many cartoons for the Filmation company. In 1993, he narrated the short documentary Legacy for Efrain, which explores the impact of the nonprofit world hunger organization Heifer International. In 2001 was the protagonist for "Papa Giovanni XXIII" fiction for Rai One (Italy). He made an appearance on the show Curb Your Enthusiasm in 2001. In February 2009, Asner guest-starred in the web series Star-ving.[6] More recently, Asner provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in the 2009 Pixar film Up. He received great critical praise for the role, with one critic going so far as to suggest "They should create a new category for this year's Academy Award for Best Vocal Acting in an Animated Film and name Asner as the first recipient."[7] Asner is the only actor to win the Emmy award for a sitcom and a drama for the same role—Lou Grant.

In 2009, Asner was given the Lifetime Feel Good Achievement Award at that year's Feel Good Film Festival in Los Angeles.[8]

Although popularly known as Ed Asner, professionally he prefers the name Edward Asner.

Political views

A prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Asner served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, in which capacity he opposed US policy in Central America. He played a prominent role in the 1980 SAG strike.[9] He has also been active in a variety of other causes, such as the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal. His political position may also have motivated him to play the voice of the pig-like villain Hoggish Greedly on the pro-environmental animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers and the voice for the sinister Ed Wuncler, Sr. in The Boondocks.[10]

The cancellation of Lou Grant in 1982 was the subject of much controversy. The show supposedly had ratings which would have justified its ongoing presence in primetime (it was in the ACNielsen top ten throughout its final month on the air), but the network declined to renew it. Asner has consistently contended that the publicity surrounding his political views was the real cause for the cancellation. (Howard Hesseman, who had participated with Asner in promoting a controversial medical aid for El Salvador program, found his popular show WKRP in Cincinnati canceled by CBS the same day.)[9]

Asner served as the spokesman for 2004 Racism Watch. In April 2004, he wrote an open letter to "peace and justice leaders" encouraging them to demand "full 9-11 truth" through the organization 9-11 Visibility Project.[11] He also signed a statement released by the organization 9/11 Truth in 2004 that calls for a new investigation into the September 11 attacks. A brief summary of the reasons for his position appears on YouTube[12]. Asner confirmed his support for the statement in 2009.[13] He has appeared in a recurring segment, on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show, entitled "Does This Impress Ed Asner?" Asner also narrated the documentary film The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror[1].

An avid comic book fan, Asner is a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a free speech organization that's dedicated to protecting comic book creators and retailers from prosecutions based on content.

In the February 28, 2007 all-star benefit reading of "The Gift of Peace" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, he portrays a minister (clergyman), and plays alongside actors Barbara Bain, Amy Brenneman, George Coe, Wendie Malick, and James Pickens, Jr.. The play is an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution 808, which seeks to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the U.S. government.[14]

Asner is listed as an advisor to the Rosenberg Fund for Children, an organization founded by the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg which provides benefits for the children of political activists, and as a board member for the wildlife conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife.

Personal life

Nancy Sykes was his wife from 1959-1988. Together they have three children: twins Matthew and Liza, and Kate. In 1987 he had a son named Charles with Carol Jean Vogelman. Asner is a parent of a child with autism.[15]

Engaged to producer Cindy Gilmore in 1991, they married on 2 August 1998. Gilmore filed for divorce on November 7, 2007. Model and television personality Jules Asner is his former daughter-in-law. His nephew, Gavin Newsom, was elected mayor of San Francisco in 2003.




Animation and video games


  1. ^ a b Asner clearly explains his birth certificate name at 0:0:18 of his Archive of American Television interview for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g97HNjwfR7k
  2. ^ a b Asner clearly explains his birthplace at 0:0:45 of his Archive of American Television interview for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g97HNjwfR7k
  3. ^ http://www.filmreference.com/film/6/Edward-Asner.html
  4. ^ Asner interview, Archive of American Television, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
  5. ^ Zager, Norma (2005-08-05). "Outspoken Asner's Activism Is No Act". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=14437. Retrieved 2006-12-13. 
  6. ^ "Sneak Peak of Crackle and David Faustino’s ’star-ving’". Tilzy.tv. 2008-10-29. http://www.tilzy.tv/sneak-peak-of-crackle-and-david-faustinos-star-ving.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  7. ^ "Keith Cohen review of "Up"". Entertainment Spectrum. http://entertainmentspectrum.com/index/movies/926/up.. Retrieved 2009-05-31. 
  8. ^ Feel Good Film Festival announces 2009 winners
  9. ^ a b Michael B. Kassel (29 November 2007). "Asner, Ed". The Museum of Broadcast Communications. http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/A/htmlA/asnered/asnered.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  10. ^ "Edward Asner". Captain Planet. 23 March 2001. http://www.turner.com/planet/static/easner.html. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  11. ^ Asner, Ed (26 April 2004). "A letter to the Peace and Justice movement from Ed Asner". 911 Visibility Project. http://www.septembereleventh.org/alerts/asner.php. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  12. ^ "Ed Asner's message to the 9/11 truth movement". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dVNDQWhtMc. 
  13. ^ Rossmeier, Vincent (September 11, 2009). "Would you still sign the 9/11 Truth petition?". Salon. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/09/11/truth_petition/. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  14. ^ Martino, Stacey (28 February 2007). "The Gift of Peace". The Peace Alliance. http://www.thepeacealliance.org/content/view/289/148/. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  15. ^ mickeynews.com, writing "James Denton ... applauded hosts of the organization's autism awareness public service announcements, including celebrity parents of children with autism, Ed Asner, Gary Cole, Joe Mantegna and John Schneider."
  16. ^ "The Gathering (1977) (TV)". IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076067/. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  17. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Robbers-Edward-Asner-James-Keach/dp/B0009GX27S/ref=pd_sim_b_1

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