Ed Asner, who played Lou Grant on two CBS shows, dies at 91

By Allen Cone & Karen Butler
Ed Asner arrives at the 82nd annual Academy Awards in Hollywood in 2010. He died Sunday at the age of 91. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Ed Asner arrives at the 82nd annual Academy Awards in Hollywood in 2010. He died Sunday at the age of 91. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Ed Asner -- the seven-time Emmy Award-winning actor who portrayed the gruff but lovable newsman Lou Grant on the comedy, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and then the drama spinoff, Lou Grant -- has died, his family posted on his Twitter account Sunday. He was 91.

"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," read the statement.


Publicist Charles Sherman told CNN he was surrounded by family in Los Angeles.

Asner is survived by his four children: twins Matthew and Liza, daughter Kate, and son Charles. He was married twice.

Asner also received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2001, earned five Golden Globe Awards and earned his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992.


His other acting credits include Roots, Elf, Up, CSI: NY, The Good Wife, ER, Mad About You and Rich Man, Poor Man. More recently he played guest roles on Modern Family, Grace and Frankie, Dead to Me and Cobra Kai.

In Elf, he played Santa Claus.

On The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Grant portrayed the news director at WJM in Minneapolis during the show's eight-year run from 1970 until 1977. The character was spun off into his own series as metropolitan editor of the Los Angeles Daily Tribune from 1977 to 1982.

Before landing the role in the CBS shows, Asner was part of the Compass Players, a predecessor to Second City in Chicago.

In May, Gavin MacLeod, who portrayed news writer Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died at age 90.

"My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator. I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It's just you and me now," Asner tweeted at the time of MacLeod's death.

Betty White, 99, is the last surviving cast member of the show, which also starred Moore, Ted Knight, Cloris Leachman, Valerie Harper and Georgia Engel.


Asner's colleagues mourned him on social media Sunday.

"Devastated to hear this news. What a legend. What a beautiful human and special friend. I learned so much from him. My love and deepest condolences to the Asner family," tweeted actor William Zabka, who played Asner's step-son on Cobra Kai.

Star Trek icon George Takei posted: "Ed Asner, who won seven Emmy awards including five for the unforgettable role of Lou Grant, has passed away. He was a giant on the screen, and a philanthropist, too. A man of true heart and talent. He will be missed."

"I am heartbroken to say goodbye to our friend who graced #CentralParkTV as the voice of Bitsy's brother Ambrose. He was a Legend, a beautiful soul and a truly brilliant actor. Love you sir! We will miss down here, but smiling that you are have fittingly gone Up," tweeted Josh Gad, who also lent his voice to a character in the animated Apple+ series, Central Park.

Notable deaths of 2021

Betty White
Betty White attends the media preview for the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association's Beastly Ball fundraiser at the Los Angeles Zoo in Los Angeles on June 11, 2015. The actress died December 31. She was 99 years old. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines


Follow Us