Ed Asner, the gruff but lovable star who played old-fashioned newsman Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died on Sunday, May 29 at age 91. His cause of death has not yet been revealed.
Asner’s family shared the news on the actor’s Twitter account.
“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.“
Asner won five of his seven career Primetime Emmys for his work as Grant, a role that straddled drama and comedy.
Born Nov. 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Mo., Asner, who was typically billed on screen as Edward Asner, was among the most prolific of actors. He was always, always, always working.
He started out in TV in the late 1950s: Westerns (Outlaws), cop shows (Route 66), crime shows (The Untouchables). The compact, balding Asner invariably played the tough guy.
In 1970, Asner won the role of Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Though Grant was tough, he was a softy, too. As news director of Minneapolis’s WJM-TV, Grant growled at Mary Richards (Moore) in the pilot’s famous job-interview scene — “You’ve got spunk. I hate spunk!” — and hired her anyway. Asner went on to earn three Emmys for the comedy series.
During his Mary Tyler Moore run, he picked up two more Emmys for his work in the era’s most-watched TV miniseries: Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots. When Mary Tyler Moore ended in 1977, Asner brought his character along for a new series: Lou Grant, an hour-long drama that moved Grant to a Los Angeles newspaper. Asner won two more Emmys. Overall, he was nominated a career total of 17 times.