RIP Ed Asner: Paying Tribute to the Beloved Emmy-Winning Actor Who Starred in ‘Up’ and ‘Elf’


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Ed Asner, a character actor whose long career spanned generations, died on Sunday, August 29, 2021. The 91-year-old passed away at his home in California, his death confirmed by his family. “We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” read a tweet on Asner's official Twitter account. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head—Goodnight dad. We love you.”

Chances are that you are familiar with Asner’s work, whether it was first being acquainted with him on The Mary Tyler Moore Show or Roots, in films like Up and Elf, or as a TV voice actor in Gargoyles and Freakazoid!

Perhaps his most enduring role was in the 1970s as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where he played the easy-to-anger but ultimately idealistic boss of the WJM television newsroom in Minneapolis. Working alongside Mary Tyler Moore, Asner is famous for telling her character: “You’ve got spunk. I hate spunk!” In portraying Lou, he won three Emmy awards for best-supporting actor in a comedy series.

More recently, Asner appeared in guest roles on television including The Good Wife, Grace and Frankie, and Cobra Kai. For films, he lent his voice as the grumpy and grieving Carl Fredricksen in Up, an Oscar-winning animated film. He also starred as Santa Claus opposite Will Ferrell in the Christmas comedy Elf. Both films are must-watches, and Elf deserves a yearly holiday viewing.

Beyond acting, Asner was active in political causes. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981 to 1985 and worked to improve employment and compensation for actors. Asner also championed unionism and animal rights, calling his political activism not a “luxury, but a necessity.”

If you’d like to learn more about Asner, watch the 2014 documentary about him titled My Friend Ed.

Actor Ed Asner passed away on August 29, 2021, at his home in California.


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He was the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Up, but he's perhaps best known for his role as Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. 

You can learn more about Asner in the documentary My Friend Ed.

h/t: [USA Today]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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