Friday, May 29, 2009

Who Is That: Edward Asner

Name: Edward Asner
Occupation: Actor
Genre: Television / Voice Over
Born: November 15, 1929

Ed Asner is a longstanding favorite of mine. This fantastic character actor, and former President of the Screen Actors Guild, won over the hearts of millions with his Emmy Award winning portrayal of Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and is currently winning over audiences of all ages with his vocal talents as the lead in the Disney/Pixar smash hit Up.

His credit list is incredibly vast with a career spanning over 50 years! This is just a small list of some of his more well known credits.

Before landing his star-making role as Lou Grant in 1970, Asner appeared in guest spots on some of the top television shows of the 1960s including "Gunsmoke", "Mission: Impossible", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "The Outer Limits", "Outlaws", and "The Untouchables".

Asner won multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards for his portrayal of Lou Grant, not just on "Mary Tyler Moore", but also in his own spin-off series "Lou Grant" which ran from 1977-1982. This makes him the only actor to win an Emmy in both Sitcom and Drama categories for the same role.

He also won a Golden Globe and Emmy for his work on the television film "Rich Man, Poor Man", and won the Emmy for his supporting role in "Roots". He has since had guest spots on such hit television series as "Mad About You", "Arli$$", "The X-Files", "The Closer", "Dharma and Greg", "The Practice", "Touched By an Angel", "ER", and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" among many, many others. He is currently appearing on a semi-regular segment of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" entitled "Does This Impress Ed Asner?"

Asner has also appeared in the films JFK, The Bachelor, and Elf, as well as Broadway productions of The Threepenny Opera, Face of a Hero, and Born Yesterday. He is set to appear in the upcoming films Trim (with Bruce Dern) and Stride (with Danny Glover).

The bulk of Asner's work since portraying Lou Grant has taken place in the recording studios, providing voices for some of the most successful animated series of the past three decades including voicing Hudson in Disney's "Gargoyles", J. Jonah Jameson in "Spider-Man", Master Vrook in "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic", Roland Daggett in "Batman: The Animated Series", and Hoggish Greedly in "Captain Planet and the Planeteers".

He has also done guest voice work for series such as "The Simpsons", "Recess", "Animaniacs", "Hercules", "Superman", "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command", "King of the Hill", and much more!

An avid comic book fan, Asner is a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a free speech organization that's dedicated to protecting comic book creators and retailers from prosecutions based on content. He is also listed as an adviser to the Rosenberg Foundation, an organization founded by the children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg which provides benefits for the children of political activists, and as a board member for the wildlife conservation organization Defenders of Wildlife.

He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild and has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Model and television personality Jules Asner is his former daughter-in-law and 42nd Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom is his nephew.

The man has had (and continues to have) one amazing career and a very full life. He is, to put it far too simply, an amazing human being.

Below is a brief interview, along with footage and photos from his various films and television shows. Don't miss Edward Asner's memorable voice work in Up!

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