Ed Asner, Star Of The Mary Tyler Moore Show And Elf, Dead At Age 91

Ed Asner, best known for playing the loveably grumpy newsman Lou Grant on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and Santa Claus in the modern holiday classic "Elf," has passed away at age 91. The actor is also known for voicing the crotchety, old Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's animated adventure "Up."

Ed Asner Could Do It All

Ed Asner's family confirmed his passing by way of an update through his profile on Twitter, which you can read above.

Though Ed Asner didn't earn his first Emmy until 1971, after he landed the series regular role on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1970, he had already been working regularly in film and television since 1957. In the years before he became an acclaimed comedy star and Emmy winner, Asner appeared in the likes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "The Untouchables," "The Outer Limits," "Gunsmoke," "The Fugitive," "The Wild Wild West," "Mission: Impossible," "The Mod Squad," and "Rhoda."

Asner's tenure on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" lasted until 1977, earning him seven total Emmy nominations and three wins for that show alone. But he wasn't done playing Lou Grant after that. The character was given his own self-titled spin-off series, which earned him five more Emmy nominations and two more wins. However, the series was canceled under questionable circumstances after Asner proclaimed support for rebels in El Salvador in 1982, defying the foreign policy decisions made by President Ronald Reagan at the time. Conservative leaders called for a boycott of the show, and CBS canceled the series, though the network blamed it on poor ratings (via Yahoo).

But that didn't stop Asner's career from continuing. He would go on to earn three more Emmy nominations for "The Trials of Rosie O'Neill," "The Christmas Card," and "CSI: NY." On top of that, Asner also won two other Emmys for his supporting role in "Roots" and a single appearance in "Rich Man, Poor Man."

Throughout his career, Asner also appeared in films such as Oliver Stone's "JFK" and Jon Favreau's "Elf." But television is where much of his work remained, including memorable voice turns on "Batman: The Animated Series," "Spider-Man," "Gargoyles," "Superman: The Animated Series," and "The Boondocks." Asner also popped up in "The Practice," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," "Hot in Cleveland," the new "Hawaii Five-0," and "Mom," just to name a few.

Despite being up there in age, Asner was constantly acting in film and television right up until his death. The late actor was slated to appear in five projects that had already been announced, six projects in pre-production, and a project called "Deadly Draw" that is apparently slated for release in 2022. Plus, there are five projects in post-production that Asner will be part of, as well as an episode of the new FX comedy series "The Premise," debuting September 16, 2021.

A Supporter of Up and Coming Filmmakers

Our own Eric Vespe revealed just how eager Asner was to star in projects that appealed to him. While developing a horror project set in a nursing home, Asner was the first to sign on. It's a shame we'll never get to see that film come to fruition with him among the cast.

Ed Asner had impeccable comedic timing and a warmth that made him feel friendly even when he was angry. But he also had a commanding presence that could make him intimidating when the performance called for it. From westerns to crime thriller to hilarious comedies, Asner could do it all. In fact, he also provided support to up and coming talent that he believed in. Filmmaker Michael Moore shared this on Twitter after the news of Asner's passing was announced:

Asner's talent will be greatly missed, but he leaves behind a legacy of memorable and influential work that will be remembered for years to come.