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Edward Asner

Edward "Ed" AsnerEdward “Ed” Asner was born November 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri, but was raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Asner attended Wyandotte High School and then went to college at the University of Chicago, but later dropped out. After college Asner joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Asner joined a theater company after his time in the Army where he began acting in earnest. Asner’s big break came with the Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. His character Lou Grant was eventually given his own spin-off series called Lou Grant in 1977 after the end of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Asner went on to play in several other television shows including Thunder Alley and Hawaii Five-O. Asner’s acting talents did not end at the television screen however; Asner also acted extensively in stage, film, as well as voice performances, Asner was the voice of Carl Fredrickson in Up. Asner won seven Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and was nominated for 20 Emmy Awards.

Although Asner continued acting, activism and community service played a large role in his life. Asner served as the Screen Actors Guild president for two terms from 1981 to 1985. Asner was a member of the Defenders of Wildlife conservation organization and took many outspoken stances on 9/11 and was an advocate for the Autism Speaks organization, which helps children with autism.

Asner was married twice and had four children. Asner married Nancy Sykes in 1959; they were divorced in 1988. In 1998 Asner married Cindy Gilmore. Gilmore filed for legal separation in 2007; Asner filed for divorce in 2015. Asner died on August 29, 2021 at the age of 91.

Entry: Asner, Ed

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2012

Date Modified: August 2022

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.