Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ed Asner who played Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the spin-off Lou Grant

Wow this guy has done a lot...  Edward Asner was born 1929 as Yitzhak Edward Asner in Missouri.  Although he has a tremendous resumè  of acting credits, he is most known as Lou Grant from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and it's spin-off show created just for Asner, "Lou Grant".  He has rubbed elbows with some of the greats in show business and has become one himself!


Ed Asner as "Lou Grant"

Ed Asner began his career in a Broadway revival of "Threepenny Opera" before he became a famous TV star, getting his feet wet on the stage before hitting the screen.

In 1957, Ed got his first TV role in "Studio One in Hollywood", followed by an appearance in "Armstrong Circle Theatre", and "Decoy" in 1959. 

Ed Asner and David Janssen in "The Fugitive"

During the 1960s, Asner starred in the TV show "Route 66" from 1960 to 1962 appearing in 5 episodes and during his run he appeared in such shows as "Naked City" (1961), "Outlaws" (1962), "Cain's Hundred", and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents".  That same year in 1962, Ed got his first film role in "Kid Galahad".  He was busy those years as he then landed appearances in "The Untouchables" starring Robert Stack for four episodes from 1962-63 as well as two episodes of "Dr. Kildare" which starred Richard Chamberlain, Raymond Massey and Leslie Nielsen.  He rounded out 1963 with appearances in "Stoney Burke" with Jack Lord, "Ben Casey", "The Lieutenant", "The Outer Limits", and two appearances in "The Defenders".

With a film role in "Fanfare for a Death Scene" (1964) with Richard Egan, Telly Savalas, Tina Louise and others, the remainder of the 60's brought Asner a run of TV roles in shows such as "The Reporter" (1964), "Mr. Novak" (2 episodes, 1963-65), "Profiles in Courage" (2 episodes, 1964-65), "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1965), "Burk's Law", "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" (1966), "The Rat Patrol" (1966), "Gunsmoke" with James Arness (2 episodes, 1964-66),"The Doomsday Flight", "The Fugitive" with David Janssen and William Conrad (3 episodes, 1965-67), "The Girl from U.N.C.L.E." (1967), "The Wild Wild West" (1968), "The Invaders" (1967-68), "Mission: Impossible" (1969), "Judd for the Defense" (1967-69), "The F.B.I." (3 episodes, 1966-69), "Ironside" (2 episodes, 1967-69), "Medical Center" (1969), "The Name of the Game" (1969), and "Here Come the Brides" (1969).



Cast of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Front: Betty White, Mary Tyler Moore, Georgia Engel.  Back: Gavin MacLeod, Ed Asner, Ted Knight

Also in the last half of the 60s, Asner had a many more film roles in "The Satan Bug" (1965), "The Slender Thread" with Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas and Dabney Coleman (1965), "El Dorado" with John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and James Caan (1966), "Gunn" (1967), "The Venetian Affair", and "Change of Habit" in 1969 with Elvis Presley and Mary Tyler Moore. It was the year after "Change of Habit" when Mary Tyler Moore launched her new production company with her own show "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in which Ed Asner was cast as her boss Lou Grant.  The show also co-starred Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, Cloris Leachman, and Betty White.  Ed would play the role of Lou Grant not only until the show ended in 1977, but got his own spin-off show based on the newsroom executive moving to L.A. entitled aptly enough, "Lou Grant".  His own show co-starred Robert Walden, Mason Adams, Jack Bannon, Daryl Anderson, Nancy Marchand, and Linda Kelsey and was more of a drama than a comedy as was "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".  The show ran for six seasons from 1977 to 1982 and won thirteen Emmys and three Golden Globe awards.  Ed also appeared in another spin-off of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" titled "Rhoda" starring Valerie Harper. Ed made an appearance for her wedding episode.


Ed Asner (Lou Grant) and Robert Walden (Joe Rossi) of the TV show "Lou Grant"

Cast members of "Lou Grant" seated Ed Asner (Lou Grant) Standing: Mason Adams (Charlie Hume), Nancy Marchand (Margaret Pynchon), Daryl Anderson (Dennis "Animal" Price), Robert Walden (Joe Rossi), Linda Kelsey (Billie Newman),  Jack Bannon (Art Donovan)

Ed Asner as "Lou Grant"

During his run as Lou Grant, Ed Asner also appeared in a boatload of other shows and movies.  He had a particularly busy year in 1970 with credits such as "House on Greenapple Road" with Christopher George, Janet Leigh and Julie Harris. Then  "Halls of Anger", "They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!" with Sidney Poitier, Martin Landau and Barbara McNair (1970) as well as "The Old Man Who Cried Wolf".  In 1971 he appeared in "The Todd Killings" with Robert F. Lyons, Richard Thomas, Belinda Montgomery, and Barbara Bel Geddes. In addition to many other TV movies and shows this time period, Asner appeared in several episodes of "The Mod Squad" from 1970 to 1972.  Also in 1972 he starred in "This Week in Nemtim" with Carl Reiner and McLean Stevenson.





Asner teamed up with "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star Cloris Leachman in "Haunts of the Very Rich" also starring Lloyd Bridges, Anne Francis, and Donna Mills.  The following year he starred in "The Girl Most Likely to..." with Stockard Channing, Jim Backus, Fred Grandy, Chuck McCann, and Larry Wilcox.  In 1975 came the comedy "Twigs" co-starring Conrad Bain, Gary Burghoff, and Carol Burnett.  The same year he starred in "The Impostor" with Paul Hecht, Nancy Kelly and Meredith Baxter.  Being very busy that year he starred in "Death Scream" co-starring Raul Julia, Lucie Arnaz, Art Carney, Kate Jackson, Cloris Leachman, and Nancy Walker.  Topping off the '75 movie year with "Hey, I'm Alive" co-starring Sally Struthers and Milton Selzer.

In 1976 Asner co-starred with Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Dick Van Patten, Harold Gould, Gary Grimes, Louise Williams, Bob Crane, and Tom Bosley in the hit comedy about a football playing mule named "Gus".  The following year, Ed took place in the memorable mini-series "Roots" as Captain Thomas Davies.  The series featured such stars as LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett Jr., Vic Morrow, Olivia Cole, Ralph Waite, Tracey Gold, Sandy Duncan, Lloyd Bridges, Leslie Uggams, Lynda Day George, Robert Reed, Richard Farnsworth, and John Amos.

After "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and during the run of "Lou Grant", Asner appeared in such TV movies and films such as "The Gathering" (1977), "The Good Doctor" (1978), "The Family Man" with Meredith Baxter and Paul Clemens (1979).  In 1981 he appeared in the film "Fort Apache the Bronx" with Paul Newman and Ken Wahl, "A Small Killing" (1981), and "O'Hara's Wife" (1982) with Mariette Hartley and Jodie Foster.


After the "Lou Grant" years, he starred in "A Case of Libel" (1983), "Daniel", "Anatomy of an Illness" (1984) with Millie Perkins, Eli Wallach, and David Ogden Stiers.  In 1984-85, Asner starred as Sam Waltman in the TV series "Off the Rack" with  Eileen Brennan and Pamela Brull. 

In 1986 he starred in "Vital Signs" and made an appearance in "Highway to Heaven"
starring Michael Landon, Victor French and James Troesh. Followed by appearances in "Kate's Secret" with Meredith Baxter, Ben Masters, Georgann Johnson, Tracy Nelson, and Mackenzie Phillips. He then starred in a holiday special "The Christmas Star" with Rene Auberjonois, Jim Metzler, and Fred Gwynne.

He was then cast as Joe Danzig the Principal in the TV show "The Bronx Zoo" from 1987-88 co-starring David Wilson and Kathleen Beller.

He began to slow down his pace a bit for a couple of years and appeared in "A Friendship in Vienna" with Jane Alexander (1988), "Westward to China" (1989), "Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less" (1990), and "Good Cops, Bad Cops" (1990). 

He was busy again in 1991 with "Switched at Birth", "Silent Motive" with Patricia Wettig, Mike Farrell, David Packer and Rick Springfield.  Followed by "Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" co-starring Richard Thomas and Charles Bronson.  Additionally in 1991 he appeared in "JFK" with Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman and Jack Lemmon as well as starring in the TV show "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill" for five episodes co-starring Sharon Gless.

In 1992 Asner starred in the show "Fish Police" with Georgia Brown, Tim Curry, Buddy Hackett, and John Ritter. He also starred in "Down on the Waterfront" in 1993 with Jason Alexander.  That same year Asner led his voice to "Happily Ever After" also starring Irene Cara, Carol Channing, Dom DeLuise, Phyllis Diller, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Sally Kellerman, Malcolm McDowell, and Tracey Ullman. In 1993 he also starred in "Gypsy" with Bette Midler.  From 1992 to 1993 Ed also starred in seven episodes of "Hearts Afire" starring John Ritter, Markie Post and Billy Bob Thornton as well as lending his voice to the animated "Batman" TV series.

For the next two years, Asner starred as Gil Jones in "Thunder Alley" while lending his voice in the animated series "Captain Planet and the Planeteers" as Hoggish Greedly from 1990 to 1995 as well as doing many other voice roles such as "Gargoyles" from 1994 to 1996 as well as a series of "Gargoyle" movies in 1998.  From 1995 to 1997 Asner starred his voice in the TV show "Freakazoid!" as Seargant Mike Cosgrove. He also lent his voice to the "Spider-Man" TV series from 1994 to 1998.

In 1997 Ed appeared in "Dog's Best Friend" with Richard Mulligan, Shirley Jones and Bobcat Goldthwait as well as some of his old colleagues such as Meredith Baxter, Markie Post, and former "Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star, Valerie Harper.  That same year he starred in "Academy Boyz", "The Fanatics" and also reunited with Mary Tyler Moore in "Payback".

In 1998 came a role in the movie "Hard Rain" co-starring Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, and Betty White.  Also in '98 he starred in the TV show "The Closer" with Tom Selleck.  Then came a string of voice roles and a few appearances in various TV shows such as the "X-Files" and "Maggie Winters".

1999 brought roles in "The Bachelor" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul".  Followed by "Bring Him Home" co-starring with his daughter Kate Asner.



Ed Asner in 2002

The new millennium found Ed Asner doing more voice roles in shows such as "Superman", "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command", and "The Wild Thornberrys".  He also made personal appearances in "Touched by an Angel", "The Hoop Life", "Above Suspicion", "Arli$$", "Becoming Dick", "Island Prey" (2001), "Donzi: The Legend", "Max Steel", "The Huntress", "The Animal" with Rob Schneider, "Dharma & Greg", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Pope John XXIII" (2002), "The Man Who Saved Christmas" with Jason Alexander, "ER" (2003),  "The King and Queen of Moonlight Bay", "Missing Brendan", and "Elf" with Will Ferrell, James Caan, Bob Newhart, and Zooey Deschanel.  Asner also appeared in four episodes of "The Practice" from 1997 to 2004.



Will Farrell (Buddy the Elf) and Ed Asner (Santa Claus) in "Elf"

Ed continued to do his voice work for shows such as "Justice League", "Center of the Universe", and "W.I.T.C.H." as well as making appearances in "All In" (2005), "Out of the Woods", "Sheeba", and "The Christmas Card" (2006).  In 2006-2007 he starred as Wilson White in "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip".  In 2008 Ed starred in "Generation Gap" along with a young cast and some old timers like Rue McClanahan and Ralph Waite. He appeared in more TV shows such as "The Line" (2008) with Linda Hamilton, "Star-ving" (2009) with David Faustino of "Married with Children" fame, and "CSI: NY" (2009).



Ed Asner in 2006
Ed Asner in 2008
Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, and Cloris Leachman at the 2008 Emmy Awards

Also in 2009 Asner starred his voice in the animated movie "Up" with Christopher Plummer, Jordan Nagai and John Ratzenberger of "Cheers".  Ed rounded out the decade by starring in "Chistmas Dreams (2009) and "Not Another B Movie" in 2010 with Reggie Bannister, Joe Estevez, and David Faustino.



Ed Asner 2009

And Ed just keeps on rolling with an incredible 9 works in production for 2011 including "Witness Insecurity", "Should've Been Romeo", and "London Fog".  He has definitely left his mark on the entertainment industry and continues to do so.


Ed Asner today

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