CNN Editorial Research
Here is a look at the life of former activist and seven-time Emmy Award winning actor Ed Asner.
Birth date: November 15, 1929
Death date: August 29, 2021
Birth place: Kansas City, Missouri
Birth name: Etye Asner
Father: Morris David Asner, scrap metal dealer
Mother: Lizzie (Seliger) Asner
Marriages: Cindy Gilmore (1998-2007, divorced); Nancy Sykes (1959-1988, divorced)
Children: With Carol Jean Vogelman: Charles; with Nancy Sykes: Kathryn, Matthew and Liza (twins)
Education: Attended the University of Chicago, 1947-1949
Military: US Army Signal Corps
Only actor to have won both a comedy and a drama Primetime Emmy for the same role, for “Lou Grant.”
He played Lou Grant on four different television series: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Rhoda,” “Lou Grant” and “Roseanne.”
Had been outspoken about his opposition to war.
He was a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
1950s – Member of Chicago’s Playwrights Theatre Club before moving to New York.
1957 – Makes his television debut in the drama “Studio One.”
1960 – Lands his first Broadway role in “Face of a Hero” with Jack Lemmon.
1962 – Is cast in his first film role in Elvis Presley’s “Kid Galahad.”
September 19, 1970 – The first telecast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” airs on CBS. Asner stars for seven seasons as “Lou Grant,” the curmudgeonly producer of the WJM-TV news.
1971-1972 – Wins two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Performance By An Actor In a Supporting Role for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
1975 – Wins an Emmy for Outstanding Continuing Performance By a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
1976 – Wins an Emmy for his portrayal as Axel Jordache in “Rich Man, Poor Man.”
January 1977 – Portrays slave trade Captain Thomas Davies on the TV mini-series, “Roots,” winning an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series.
March 19, 1977 – The final episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” airs on CBS.
September 20, 1977 – Premiere of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” spin-off, “Lou Grant.”
1978 – Wins an Emmy for Lead Actor In a Drama Series for “Lou Grant.”
1980 – Wins an Emmy for Lead Actor In a Drama Series for “Lou Grant.”
1981 – After advocating for the unions during the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike in 1980, Asner is elected SAG president.
1982 – CBS cancels “Lou Grant” after five seasons reportedly due to low ratings. Asner attributes the cancellation to his political activism.
1983 – Asner is reelected for a second term as SAG president.
1985 – Patty Duke replaces Asner as SAG president.
1996 – Is inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
2002 – Is presented with the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award.
April 2004 – Writes an open letter to peace and justice leaders about the tragedy of 9/11 and the subsequent perpetuation of an “endless war” as a means to restrict civil liberties in the United States.
May 19, 2008 – Oprah Winfrey hosts the surviving cast members of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to reflect on the series.
2009 – Provides the voice for “Carl Fredricksen” in the Academy Award-winning animated film, “Up.”
October 4, 2012-January 6, 2013 – Appears on Broadway in the production of “Grace,” after having not been on stage since 1989.
March 12, 2013 – Falls ill during his one-man show, “FDR,” in Gary, Indiana, and is rushed to the hospital. His publicist later says Asner was diagnosed with exhaustion.
June 2013 – Voices his support for Edward Snowden, who leaked confidential information regarding the US government’s surveillance programs.
October 10, 2017 – Release of Asner’s book, “The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs.”
March 22, 2018 – Announces the creation of the Ed Asner Family Center, which supports people who are differently abled.
2019 – The documentary “Ed Asner: On Stage and Off” is released.
August 29, 2021 – Asner dies in Los Angeles, his publicist confirms to CNN.
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