TV | August 29, 2021 4:50 pm

Ed Asner, Beloved Character Actor, Dead at 91

His long career abounded with memorable roles

Ed Asner
Actor Ed Asner presents the award for best Syndicated TV Newsmagazine at the 19th Annual Genesis Awards Presented by The Humane Society at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California.
Matthew Simmons/Getty Images

Over the course of his long career, actor Ed Asner portrayed a host of indelible characters. The best-known is likely journalist and editor Lou Grant, who Asner portrayed on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its followup, Lou Grant — but it was far from the only memorable role he embodied; a younger generation, for instance, came to know him through his vocal work in the animated film Up.

That long career is now at its end; Vanity Fair reports that Asner died on Sunday at the age of 91. His family announced his passing with a post on Twitter. “We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” they wrote. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel.”

Later in his career, Asner did a host of voice-over work for animated programs including Superman: The Animated Series, The Boondocks and American Dad. He also made a number of memorable guest appearances on shows ranging from Curb Your Enthusiasm to The X-Files to The Good Wife — to say nothing of supporting roles in works like Roots and Elf.

In an interview in 2019, Asner was asked about why he remained so busy as an actor, given his age. His answer? “It enlivens me,” he said.

Asner was also a vocal supporter of labor unions, a high-profile democratic socialist and a two-time president of the Screen Actors Guild — a platform that he used to criticize Reagan-era foreign policy. While his legacy as an actor is vast, it’s far from the only one that he’s left.