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Ed Asner, the gruff widower in Disney’s “Up” (2009), peacefully passed away Sunday. The 91-year-old was surrounded by family when he passed, according to a representative, on Aug. 8, 2021. Many people remember the actor for his convincing performances where the character and performer seem to be one.
However, he may be best remembered as Lou Grant in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1970-77), Asner’s first comedic role. While he could hold his own comedian to comedian, Asner seemed most at ease being the straight man with impeccable timing to another’s antics.
After co-star Mary Tyler Moore passed away in 2017, he recalled how much he learned from her approach to work; the show was named in her honor, it was also overseen by MTM Enterprises, her production company, but she chose to be a team player. In addition, Asner praised her kindness toward other stars:
I can’t say I ever take the measure of most starts of TV shows, but she was quite willing to stay in the background and the star a turn to whoever has that moment in the show, be it a permanent member of the cast or the guest.
Their chemistry worked well off and on-camera. When the “Mary Tyler Moore” show ended in 1977, MTM Enterprises produced his spinoff series “Lou Grant” (1977-1982). Asner recalled that as the lead performer, his goal was to emulate her style.
The Actor’s Personal Life, Philanthropy, and Activism Closely Tied
Asner’s personal life was kept private; however, the public knows he was married twice and has four children. His first marriage to Nancy Sykes from 1959 to 1988 produced three children: Kate and twins Matthew and Liza. Asner. In 1998, he married Cindy Gilmore, and another son entered the family; his name is Charles Edward Vogelman.
In a rare 2017 interview about his family, the star explained that Charles and his son Will are on the spectrum. As a parent and grandparent of a child with autism, he launched The Ed Asner Family Center (TEAFC) alongside his son Matt and daughter-in-law, Navah Paskowitz-Asner, according to Distractify. Reportedly, Matt and Navah are the parents of three children also on the spectrum.
TEAFC, founded in 2018, operates out of Reseda, California. The center’s press release about its opening explains the organization’s goal is to promote self-confidence in differently-abled individuals and bring balance and wellness to them and their families.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NBC News: Ed Asner, television legend and ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ star, dies at age 91; by David k. Li and Corky Siemaszko
Biography: The On and Off Screen Connection Between Ed Asner and Mary Tyler Moore; by Sara Kettler
Distractify: ‘Up’ Star Ed Asner Has Died at Age 91 — Details on His Blended Family; by anna Garrison
CISION PR Newswire: Legendary Actor Ed Asner Announces the Foundation of The Ed Asner Family Center
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Kempton’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License