|Asner in 1985, aged 56|
|President of the Screen Actors Guild|
|Preceded by||William Schallert|
|Succeeded by||Patty Duke|
November 15, 1929 |
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic Party, Democratic Socialists of America|
|Spouse(s)||Nancy Sykes (1959–1988, divorced)
Cindy Gilmore (1998–2007, divorced)
|Residence||Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Alma mater||University of Chicago|
|Occupation||Actor, political activist|
Edward "Ed" Asner (born November 15, 1929) is an American film, television, stage, and voice actor and a former president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is primarily known for his Emmy Award-winning role as 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 leading character in both a comedy and a drama.
In 2009, he starred as the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's award-winning animated film Up. In early 2011, Asner returned to television as butcher Hank Greziak in Working Class, the first original sitcom on cable channel CMT. He starred in the Canadian television series Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays, on CBC Television and has appeared in the 2013 television series The Glades, in the episode "Killer Barbecue".
Early life and education
Asner was born in Kansas City, Missouri, His Russian-born parents, Lizzie (née Seliger, 1885–January 16, 1967), a housewife; and David Morris Asner(1877–May 19, 1957) ran a second-hand shop. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family.
Following his military service, Asner joined the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago, but left for New York City 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. In New York City, Asner played Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in the Broadway revival of Threepenny Opera, and began to make inroads as a television actor.
Before he landed his role with Mary Tyler Moore, Asner guest-starred in such television series as the syndicated crime drama Decoy, starring Beverly Garland, and the NBC western series The Outlaws. He was also cast on Jack Lord's ABC drama series Stoney Burke and in the series finale of CBS's The Reporter, starring Harry Guardino. He also appeared on Mr. Novak, Mission: Impossible,The Invaders. Asner also played a minor character in children's television show W.I.T.C.H. (Napoleon- Cornelia's younger sister's cat).
Asner is best known for his character Lou Grant, who was first introduced on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. In 1977, after the series, Asner's character was given his own show, Lou Grant (1977–82). In contrast to the Mary Tyler Moore show, a thirty-minute comedy, the Lou Grant show was an hour-long award-winning drama about journalism. (For his role as Grant, Asner is the only actor to win an Emmy Award for a sitcom and a drama for the same role.) Other television series starring Asner in regular roles include Thunder Alley, The Bronx Zoo, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He also portrayed art smuggler August March in an episode of the original Hawaii Five-O (1975) and reprised the role in the Hawaii Five-0 (2012) remake.
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. That role earned Asner an Emmy Award, as did the similarly dark role of Axel Jordache in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man (1976). In contrast, he played a former Pontiff in the lead role of Papa Giovanni: Ioannes XXIII (Pope John XXIII 2002), an Italian miniseries for RAI.
Asner has also had an extensive voice acting career. He 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 (2005–10); and Granny Goodness in various DC Comics animated series.
Asner provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in the Academy Award-winning Pixar film Up (2009). 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."
He has appeared in a recurring segment, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, entitled "Does This Impress Ed Asner?"
Asner has won more Emmy Awards for performing than any other male actor (seven, including five for the role of Lou Grant). In 1996, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
In July 2010, Asner completed recording sessions for Shattered Hopes: The True Story of the Amityville Murders; a documentary on the 1974 DeFeo murders in Amityville, New York. Asner served as the narrator for the film, which covers a forensic analysis of the murders, the trial in which 23-year-old DeFeo son Ronald DeFeo Jr., was convicted of the killings, and the subsequent "haunting" story which is revealed to be a hoax. Also in 2010, Asner played the title role in "FDR", a stage production about the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt he has subsequently continued to tour the play throughout the country. In January 2011, Asner took a supporting role on CMT's first original sitcom Working Class. He made an appearance in the independent comedy feature Not Another B Movie, and had a small but pivotal role as billionaire Warren Buffett in HBO's 2011 economy drama Too Big to Fail.
Asner has also provided voice-over narration for many documentaries and films of social activism.
- The Murder Men (1961);
- The Slender Thread - Det. Judd Ridley (1965);
- El Dorado - Bart Jason (1967);
- Change of Habit - Police Officer (1969);
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs! - Woody Garfield (1970);
- The Girl Most Likely to... - Det. Ralph Varone (1973):
- Hey, I'm Alive – Ralph Flores (1975):
- Gus - Hank Cooper (1976);
- Fort Apache, The Bronx - Captain Dennis Connolly (1981);
- Americas in Transition (1981) (narrator);
- O'Hara's Wife - Bob O'Hara (1982);
- Moon over Parador (1988) (Himself);
- The Cops Are Robbers - (1990):
- JFK - Guy Banister, CIA/FBI operative (1991);
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1995) (Bruno);
- Hard Rain - Uncle Charlie (1998);
- The Bachelor - Sid Gluckman (1999);
- The Animal - Chief Wilson (2001);
- The Man Who Saved Christmas (2002);
- Elf - Santa Claus (2003);
- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure - Uncle Nick (2003);
- Happily Even After - Judge Dreyfus (uncredited) (2004);
- Out of the Woods - Jack (2005);
- The Christmas Card - Luke Spelman (2006);
- The Heart Specialist - Mr. Olson (2006);
- Gigantic - (2008);
- Christmas Is Here Again - Krad (2008);
- Generation Gap - Colonel Bart Cahill (2008);
- Channels (2008 film) - Ed Packard;
- Up - Carl Fredricksen (2009);
- Stride - Charlie Arnesson (2009);
- The Raft - Seymour Popper (2009);
- Sheeba - Grandfather (2011);
- Too Big to Fail - Warren Buffett (2011);
- Not Another B Movie - Angry Investor (2011).
- Foodfight! - Leonard (2012)
- Identical - Yaakov Washington (2012)
- "I Know That Voice" - Himself (2013)
- Christmas on the Bayou- Papa Noel (2013)
- Hearts Afire -George Lahti (1992-1995)
- Target: The Corruptors! - Tyler in the episode, The Golden Carpet, November 24, 1961
- The Eleventh Hour - Max Brenson in the episode My Name is Judith, I'm Lost, You See (1963)
- The Outer Limits - Sgt. Siroleo in the episode It Crawled Out of the Woodwork, 1963
- Gunsmoke - Sergeant Wilks in the episode Hung High, 1964
- The Fugitive - Sheriff Mayhew Roy Malinek in the episode Masquerade Three Cheers for Little Boy Blue (1965)
- "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea"
- The Rat Patrol - German field doctor in "Life against death raid" (1965)
- "The Exile" (TV episode 1965)
- The Fugitive - Joe Bantam in the episode Run the Man Down (1967)
- The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. - George Kramer in the episode The Double-O-Nothing Affair, 1967
- Ironside - Marlon Davis in the episode "The Fourteenth Runner", 1967
- Ironside - Warrant Officer Frank Simpson in the episode "Not With a Whimper, But a Bang", 1969
- The Wild Wild West - Furman Crotty in the episode The Night of the Amnesiac, 1969
- Mission: Impossible - George Simpson in the episode The Mind of Stefan Miklos, 1969
- Sadbird - Nat Congdon (1969) *Medical Center Season one,Ep One The Last Ten Yards (sept 1969)
- Daughter of the Mind – Wiener in the ABC Movie of the Week, December 1969
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show - Lou Grant (1970–1977)
- The Girl Most Likely to... - Det. Ralph Varone (1973)
- Rhoda - Lou Grant (1974)
- Hawaii Five-O - as August March in the episode Wooden Model of a Rat, (1975)
- Cher - Himself (1975)
- Rich Man, Poor Man - Axel Jordache (1976)
- Roots - Capt. Thomas Davies (1977)
- Lou Grant - Lou Grant (1977–1982)
- The Gathering - Adam Thornton (1977)
- Off the Rack - Sam Waltman (1985)
- Kate's Secret - Dr. Resnick (1986)
- The Christmas Star - Horace McNickle (1986)
- The Bronx Zoo - Principal Joe Danzig (1987)
- Happy Castle - The Well of What (1988)
- Gypsy - Pop (1993)
- Thunder Alley - Gil Jones (1994)
- The Practice - Judge Matlin Pratt (1997)
- The X-Files - Maurice in the episode How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, December 13, 1998
- Touched by an Angel - Bud in the episode Here I Am, February 27, 2000
- Papa Giovanni: Ioannes XXIII – Angelo Roncalli (2002)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm- Mr. Wiener (2001)
- Teamo Supremo - Mr. Large (2002-2004)
- ER - a con artist (2003)
- The Deadzone Sarah's dad- Episode 10- season 4 (2005)
- The Christmas Card – Luke (2006)
- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Wilson White (2006–2007)
- Generation Gap - Bart Cahill (2008)
- Star-ving - David's therapist/network executive in the episode El Al-Qaeda (2009)
- CSI: NY - Klaus Braun (alias Abraham Klein) in the episode Yahrzeit (2009)
- Working Class – Hank Greziak (2011)
- Royal Pains - Ted Roth (2011)
- Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays - Dr. Wasserman (2011–Present)
- Night of the Hurricane - The Narrator (2011) (voice)
- The Middle - Ben in Season 3's "The Paper Route" (2012)
- Hot in Cleveland - Jameson in the episode Rubber Ball (2012)
- Hawaii Five-0 - August March - Two episodes (2012)
- Law & Order SVU - in the episode Monster's Legacy (2013)
- Men At Work - in the episode Gigo-Milo (2014)
Voice Acting, including animation and video games
- Gargoyles - Hudson
- Gargoyles the Movie: The Heroes Awaken - Hudson
- Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles - Hudson
- Batman: The Animated Series - Roland Daggett
- Superman: The Animated Series - Granny Goodness
- Justice League Unlimited - Granny Goodness, Hephaestus
- Hercules - Mentor
- Down in the Dumps (1963 TV Movie) - Tanner Banion, the bumbling man-servant
- American Dad - Stan's grandfather, Red Mail Box
- Animaniacs - Vern
- Bonkers - Grumps
- The Boondocks - Ed Wuncler Sr.
- Bruno the Kid - Engineer
- Buzz Lightyear of Star Command - Fixer
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers - Hoggish Greedly
- Center of the Universe - Art Barnett
- Dinosaurs - Evil Georgie
- Duck Dodgers - Guard Captain
- Duckman - Mort Sidelman
- Fish Police - Chief Abalone
- The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible - Joshua
- Sonic the Hedgehog - Cat
- South Park - News Report, President and Additional Voices
- South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut - News Report, Singer and Additional Voices
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Jedi Master Vrook Lamar
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords - Jedi Master Vrook Lamar
- Freakazoid! - Sgt. Mike Cosgrove
- Max Steel - Chuck Marshak
- W.I.T.C.H. - Napoleon the Cat
- Disney's Recess - Thadeus T. Third V
- Up - Carl Fredricksen/Mr. Fredricksen
- Up - Carl Fredricksen - video game
- Christmas is Here Again - Krad
- Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night - Scalawag
- The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest - Sentries, Von Romme
- The New Adventures of Captain Planet - Hoggish Greedly
- The Cleveland Show -The Daily Splash Editor, Carl Fredricksen
- X-Men Legends - Healer
- Spider-Man - J. Jonah Jameson
- The Spectacular Spider-Man - Uncle Ben
- The Simpsons, "Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?" - Lifeways Editor
- Family Guy - Steve Bellows
- Foodfight! - Leonard
- Grim & Evil - Mr. Voorhees
- Johnny Bravo - Dr. Miller
- Jumanji - Judge
- King of the Hill, "Yankee Hankee" - Irwin Linker
- Olive, the Other Reindeer - Santa Claus
- Our Friend, Martin - Mr. Harris
- Teamo Supremo - Mr. Large
- The Angry Beavers - Risk Keeper
- Life with Louie - Mr. Applegate
- The Magic School Bus - General
- The Real Story of Happy Birthday to You - Charlie
- The Wild Thornberrys - Frank Hunter
- Zorro - Additional Voices
- Happily Ever After - Scowl the Owl
- WordGirl - Kid Potato (2 Episodes - 2009-2011)
- City Trams - Preston
- 3x3 Eyes - Grandpa Ayanokoji
- The Sissy Duckling - Elmer's Father
- A Christmas Carol - Marley
- O Christmas Tree - Nutcracker
- Snowden's Christmas - Big Daddy
- The Story of Santa Claus (TV 1996) - Santa Claus
- Dug's Special Mission - Carl Fredricksen (uncredited)
- Gahan Wilson's The Kid - Dead Cat
- Lolo's Cafe - Mr. Atkins
- Young Justice - Doctor Fate, Granny Goodness
- Regular Show - Santa Claus
- The Odyssey, National Radio Theater, 1981, published by Blackstone Audio - Narrator
A member of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy and Democratic Socialists of America, Asner served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, in which capacity during the 1980s he opposed US policy in Central America, working closely with the Alliance for Survival. He played a prominent role in the 1980 SAG strike. He has also been active in a variety of other causes, such as the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and the movement to establish single-payer health care in California, California One Care, for which he created a television advertisement. He endorsed Barack Obama during the United States presidential election, 2008.
The sudden cancellation of Lou Grant in 1982 was the subject of much controversy. The show had high ratings—the level of which should have justified its ongoing presence in primetime (it was in the ACNielsen top ten throughout its final month on the air). However, the CBS television network declined to renew it. It has been Asner's consistent position that his political views, as well as the publicity surrounding, were the actual root causes for the show's cancellation.
Ed Asner endorsed progressive Democratic Candidate Marcy Winograd in the 2011 California 36th Congressional district special election.
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (June 2013)|
Asner is a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a free speech organization that is dedicated to protecting comic book creators and retailers from prosecutions based on content. He serves 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.
Asner is also a member of the Honorary Board of Directors for the homeless respite service center Fresh Start WC in Walnut Creek, California.
September 11 attacks
Asner 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 in a video available on YouTube. Asner confirmed his support for the statement in 2009. Asner also narrated the documentary film The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror.
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.
Anti SAG/AFTRA merger
On March 30, 2012 the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) completed a merger of equals, forming a new union SAG-AFTRA. As a former SAG President Asner was adamantly opposed to such a merger, so he and fellow actors Martin Sheen, Ed Harris and Valerie Harper, as well as voice actors Michael Bell and Wendy Schaal, to name a few, filed a lawsuit against SAG President Ken Howard and several SAG Vice Presidents, seeking to have the merger overturned, and the two unions separated to their pre-merger organizations. The lawsuit is currently working its way through the court system.
Asner was married to Nancy Sykes from 1959 until 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 and a grandparent of a child with autism and is deeply involved with the autism nonprofit Autism Speaks. He also serves on the advisory board of a suburban Chicago firm that employs persons with autistic spectrum disorders to test and program software.
Engaged to producer Cindy Gilmore in 1991, he married her on August 2, 1998. Gilmore filed for divorce on November 7, 2007. Model and television personality Jules Asner is his former daughter-in-law. Gavin Newsom, his ex-nephew-in-law, was a former mayor of San Francisco and is the current Lieutenant Governor of California.
On March 12, 2013, while performing in FDR at the Marquette Pavilion in Gary, Indiana, Asner began having trouble with his lines, and appeared to be disoriented, he was reportedly walked off stage by emergency medical personnel about 15 minutes into the performance. He was subsequently hospitalized in a Chicago-area hospital for exhaustion, and was released the following day. Commenting on his Twitter page Asner said, "Reports of my imminent demise are greatly exaggerated, They tell me I am suffering from exhaustion. Thanks for the good wishes!" He was expected to return to his home in Los Angeles, and postponed any further shows.
- List of alumni of the Second City
- List of entertainers who have lived in or near Chicago
- List of Golden Globe winners
- List of Jewish American activists
- List of Jewish American entertainers
- List of people from Kansas
- List of people from Kansas City, Missouri
- List of people from Los Angeles
- List of people from New York City
- List of people from Santa Monica, California
- List of Primetime Emmy Award winners
- List of University of Chicago alumni
- List of voice actors
- 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 .
- . Find a Grave.
- "Edward Asner Biography (1929-)".
- . Find a Grave.
- Asner interview, Archive of American Television, Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
- Zager, Norma (August 5, 2005). "Outspoken Asner's Activism Is No Act". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved December 13, 2006.
- Horwitz, Simi (September 27, 2012). "Ed Asner's Still Crusty After All These Years". The Forward.
- "Keith Cohen review of "Up"". Entertainment Spectrum. Retrieved May 31, 2009.
- "Ed Asner Signs On to CMT Comedy Pilot". TVGuide.com.
- Edward Asner - 2001 Life Achievement Recipient | Screen Actors Guild Awards
- Hall of Fame Archives: Inductees | Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
- "Television Hall of Fame Honorees: Complete List".
- "IMDB » Shattered Hopes: The True Story of the Amityville Murders (2011)". Retrieved February 11, 2011.
- Amazon.com: The Cops are Robbers: Edward Asner; James Keach: Movies & TV
- Kassel, Michael B. (November 29, 2007). "Asner, Ed". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved April 6, 2008.
- Staff (April 28, 2011). "Ed Asner Urges Voters to 'Protect Social Security & Medicare from Robber Barons Who Looted America to Pay for the Wars'". Winograd For Congress. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- . The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Ed Asner's message to the 9/11 truth movement".
- Rossmeier, Vincent (September 11, 2009). "Would you still sign the 9/11 Truth petition?". Salon. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
- Asner, Ed (April 26, 2004). "A letter to the Peace and Justice movement from Ed Asner". 911 Visibility Project. Retrieved September 26, 2008.
- Carroll, Rory (October 17, 2012). "Martin Sheen and Woody Harrelson set for 9/11 'truther' film September Morn". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2012. "Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson and Ed Asner, who have all supported conspiracy theories about the terrorist attacks, have signed up to the movie, which is entitled September Morn."
- Patches, Matt (October 19, 2012). "Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen Take 9/11 Conspiracy Theories to Big Screen in 'September Morn'". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2012. "Woody Harrelson, Martin Sheen, and Ed Asner are all attached to star in the project, which Fleur De Lis' site describes as being "in the vein of Twelve Angry Men.""
- Hollywood Reporter - SAG/AFTRA Anti Merger Lawsuit Drops Demands.
- Former SAG President Edward Asner speaks out against the SAG-AFTRA merger.
- 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."
- Aspiritech Board of Directors
- 4/26: 'Lou Grant' star Ed Asner brings 'FDR' to Arizona, "Actually, he's my wife's nephew."
- "Ed Asner Hospitalized: Actor Treated For Exhaustion In Indiana". The Huffington Post. Marcy 13, 2013.
- Wetherbe, Jamie (March 14, 2013). "Ed Asner Hospitalized, Tweets He's Suffering from Exhaustion". Los Angeles Times.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edward Asner.|
- Ed Asner at AllRovi
- Ed Asner at the Internet Broadway Database
- Ed Asner at the Internet Movie Database
- Ed Asner Talks about his Early Career, September 2012
- Ed Asner interview video at the Archive of American Television
- Audio interview of Ed Asner by Stephanie Miller on The Stephanie Miller Show about a September 11 Conspiracy Theory.
- Shattered Hopes: The True Story of the Amityville Murders Official Website
- Interview at Talk Humor
- Red Carpet interview with Ed Asner and Mark Rydell at Burbank International Film Festival, 2011 with hosts Brett Walkow and Mary Jo Gruber of Actors Reporter