Remembering the Late Ed Asner

August 31, 2021 · CLASSMATES FUN

Movie and television icon Ed Asner sadly passed away on Sunday, August 29th, 2021.

Asner was born in 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri to Ashkenazi Jewish parents who immigrated from Eastern Europe. He attended Wyandotte High School and then University of Chicago, but soon dropped out. He worked as a taxi driver and worked on an assembly line for General Motors until he was drafted in the military from 1951 to 1953. Active in drama in both high school and college, he appeared in plays that toured Army bases in Europe.

From left to right, Asner in the Drama Club, Quill and Scroll Club, and the Radio Club, 1947, during his senior year at Wyandotte High School. © Classmates archives.

After completing his military service, he helped found the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago but left for New York before the company regrouped as the Compass Players in the mid-1950s.

Asner found work acting both off-Broadway and Broadway and appearing on numerous television shows. However, he is most widely known for his character Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, first introduced in 1970. In 1977, his character was given his own show, Lou Grant, which ran until 1982. Other television programs he starred in include Thunder Alley, The Bronx Zoo, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. He also received an Emmy for his role in the ABC miniseries Roots. He won more Emmys than any other male actor, with seven total.

Asner, 1947, as a senior on the Wyandotte High School football team. © Classmates archives.

Asner had an extensive voice acting career, including his famous role as Carl in the Pixar film Up. He was also the 21st president of the Screen Actors Guild and was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

From left to right, Asner in the W Club at Wyandotte High School and in his 1947 Senior yearbook photo. © Classmates archives.

Asner died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 91. He is survived by his four children and his grandchildren.