Ed Asner, best known for being one of TV’s most decorated actors, has died aged 91.
In a statement shared by his family, the actor passed away peacefully this morning (August 29). No cause of death has yet been revealed.
“We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” the statement read. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head- Goodnight dad. We love you.”
We are sorry to say that 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.
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) August 29, 2021
Born in 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri, Edward David Asner started his acting career in college, appearing in a number of productions at the University of Chicago. After serving in the US Army’s Signal Corps in the early 1950s, he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting, with theatre an early passion.
His list of TV credits is huge, with his most famous role being Lou Grant, the grumbling but lovable newsman, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its titular spin-off series, Lou Grant. Other series included ER, Rich Man, Poor Man, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, Roots, The Good Wife and more recently, Cobra Kai.
Although his film resume isn’t as substantial, he starred in a few fan favourites including the comedy Christmas favourite Elf, which saw Asner play Santa. He also appeared in JFK, They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, Hard Rain, and there are a few films he worked on that are still yet to be released.
He had an extensive voice acting career – most notably playing grouchy Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s Up, as well as a variety of TV roles including J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s Spider-Man series, Hoggish Greedly in Captain Planet And The Planeteers, Ed Wuncler on The Boondocks, and a Jedi master in a Star Wars video game.
His voice will also appear in the Up spin-off Dug Days which is set to launch on Disney+ this coming week.
Asner was the recipient of seven Emmy Awards, the most of any male performer in television history. Five were for the The Mary Tyler Moore Show, one was for his role as Captain Thomas Davies in Roots, and the final one for his role as Axel Jordache in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man.
He also won five Golden Globes and was the recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 1996, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
Aside from his acting work, Asner worked to protect the rights of his fellow performers as a former president of the Screen Actors Guild and he raised a lot of money for a number of various charitable causes.
Tributes have begun to pour in for the actor, including one from filmmaker Michael Moore who remembered Asner’s kindness, even dealing with strangers. “Making my 1st film, Roger & Me, I was broke so I wrote to some famous people to ask for help,” Moore wrote. “Only one responded: Ed Asner. ‘I don’t know you, kid, but here’s 500 bucks’ said the note attached to the check. ‘Sounds like it’ll be a great film. I was an autoworker once.’ R.I.P. Ed”
Making my 1st film, Roger & Me, I was broke so I wrote to some famous people to ask for help. Only one responded: Ed Asner. “I don’t know you, kid, but here’s 500 bucks” said the note attached to the check. “Sounds like it’ll be a great film. I was an autoworker once.” R.I.P. Ed pic.twitter.com/AuGCNlyNnC
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) August 29, 2021
Star Trek actor George Takei wrote: “Ed Asner, who won seven Emmy awards including five for the unforgettable role of Lou Grant, has passed away. He was a giant on the screen, and a philanthropist, too. A man of true heart and talent. He will be missed.”
Ed Asner, who won seven Emmy awards including five for the unforgettable role of Lou Grant, has passed away. He was a giant on the screen, and a philanthropist, too. A man of true heart and talent. He will be missed.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 29, 2021
Halloween director and horror legend John Carpenter tweeted: “Ed Asner was a talented actor and a very nice man. He always had a twinkle in his eye. Rest In Peace, Ed.”
Ed Asner was a talented actor and a very nice man. He always had a twinkle in his eye. Rest In Peace, Ed.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) August 29, 2021
“I am heartbroken to say goodbye to our friend #EdAsner who graced #CentralParkTV as the voice of Bitsy’s brother Ambrose. He was a Legend, a beautiful soul and a truly brilliant actor. Love you sir! We will miss down here, but smiling that you are have fittingly gone Up,” added Frozen actor Josh Gad.
I am heartbroken to say goodbye to our friend #EdAsner who graced #CentralParkTV as the voice of Bitsy’s brother Ambrose. He was a Legend, a beautiful soul and a truly brilliant actor. Love you sir! We will miss down here, but smiling that you are have fittingly gone Up. pic.twitter.com/EAjuW9a3J5
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 29, 2021
See more tributes to Asner below:
Ed Asner won seven Emmys, helped organize a labor strike, played Santa Claus, voiced a Jedi, and that’s maybe like 2% of the things he did. Absolute legend. https://t.co/qlh6vz7gQe
— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) August 29, 2021
RIP to a legend. It was an honor for the entire Cobra Kai family whenever Mr. Asner visited our dojo. His sense of humor was contagious both on and off camera. Here he is keeping things light on our very first day of production. My deepest condolences to his loved ones. #edasner pic.twitter.com/ctXlMuqqTZ
— Jon Hurwitz (@jonhurwitz) August 29, 2021
Farewell #EdAsner, a wonderful man. He played my dad in the 1994 movie “Heads.” He was so robust and smart and kind and funny. We all loved to hang out with him. Some people you think will just hang on forever, and he was one of them. 😢 RIP.
(Clip by @SassFactoryKass) pic.twitter.com/HwcFOuMRiA
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) August 29, 2021
Was having lunch at Jinkys in Studio City & #EdAsner was sitting behind me. I turned around & asked if I could join him, he said he'd love nothing better. We talked for 31/2 hrs & his bear hug at the end was in league with my dad's, who was famous 4 his. What a gift he was. #RIP https://t.co/pi4wgHwwdp
— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) August 29, 2021
Ed Asner was a fine man and a great actor. He was tough in the ways that count and suffered no fools. I acted with him just once and knew how lucky I was to do so. A hero. Rest in peace, Ed.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) August 29, 2021
💔 I will always remember the story @NiecyNash told of his kindness to her when she was just starting out & how he then came to her #WalkOfFame Ceremony decades later. ❤️🕊#EdAsner, the Iconic Lou Grant on Two Acclaimed TV Series, Dies at 91. https://t.co/TQj5cTDkJJ
— yvette nicole brown (@YNB) August 29, 2021
RIP Ed Asner 😪
Was privileged to be interning on a show many years ago that he guest starred on. Funny, warm, and gracious. One of TV's all-time greats.
One of his most famous on-screen moments… pic.twitter.com/6PCDrZyVFC
— Dan Signer (@DanSigner) August 29, 2021
The great Ed Asner.@TheOnlyEdAsner
What an inspiration he was to me as a young actor.
Not to mention the years of laughs he brought into my household when I was kid.
Thank you Ed.
My heart goes out to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/qb0W98Gwvu
— Vincent D'Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) August 29, 2021
Ed Asner (1929-2021): pic.twitter.com/rN9RPC97Q2
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) August 29, 2021
Heartbroken to have to say goodbye to legend and friend Ed Asner. He was always so kind to me and brought so much joy to this world. Sending love to @masner, friends and family. 💔 https://t.co/l4yDtLf7Hz
— Randy Rainbow (@RandyRainbow) August 29, 2021
God bless Ed Asner. pic.twitter.com/auOGzDY7DE
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) August 29, 2021
Ed Asner fought for the rights and dignity of people he did not know, who were not like himself. That's the greatest achievement a person can claim in this life. RIP.
— John Rogers (@jonrog1) August 29, 2021
Had the privilege of locking eyes with #EdAsner on Studio 60 and it meant a lot to me because I grew up loving him and he was one of those rare actors who just shot straight. He couldn’t help it. Rest In Peace, sir. Well done.
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) August 29, 2021