Ed Asner, Our Beloved Carl from Up and Much More, Passes at 91
The seven-time Emmy winner was funny on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and serious on his own newspaper drama, then delighted movie audiences with ‘Up.’
Edward Asner, the tough guy with the soft side who starred as the irascible newsroom boss Lou Grant on the legendary sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show and on his own hard-hitting TV drama, died Sunday, his publicist announced. He was 91.
Asner received three of his record seven Emmy Awards (in 1971, ’72 and ’75) for playing the producer of the WJM-TV evening news on CBS’ The Mary Tyler Moore Show, then reeled in two more trophies (1978, ’80) after his out-of-work character was hired as city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune newspaper on CBS’ Lou Grant.
He’s one of only two actors (Uzo Aduba is the other) to win a comedy and drama Emmy for the same role on different shows.
Asner also received Emmys for his performances on two renowned ABC miniseries: 1976’s Rich Man, Poor Man, in which he played an embittered German immigrant, and 1977’s Roots, as the sea captain who brought Kunta Kinte to America.
Asner then attracted a new generation of fans when he voiced Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old widower who ties thousands of balloons to his house to fulfill a dream of seeing South America, in the Oscar best picture nominee Up (2009).
Asner also served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, from 1981-85, and sparred often with Charlton Heston, a noted conservative who preceded him as head of the guild. He received the SAG Life Achievement Award in 2002.
He reflected on his long career with THR‘s Scott Feinberg very recently.
Asner’s portrayal of a ill-tempered, comedic police chief in the 1971 Erle Stanley Gardner NBC telefilm They Call It Murder led to the role that changed his life. MTM Enterprises head Grant Tinker saw Asner’s work in the dailies and recommended him for the role of the gruff Grant on the new Mary Tyler Moore Show, starring Tinker’s wife.
Ed Asner has a very impressive career with a variety of rolls, but Disney fans adore him as Carl Fredericksen from the Pixar film UP. This was the announcement on Twitter earlier today.
Our deepest sympathy to Ed Asner’s family and all who love him. He will be missed.
*The Hollywood Reporter