Edward “Ed” Asner was born November 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri, but was raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Asner attended Wyandotte High School and then went to college at the University of Chicago where he graduated in 1948. After college Asner joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Asner joined a theater company after his time in the Army where he began acting in earnest. Asner’s big break came with the Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. His character Lou Grant was eventually given his own spin-off series called Lou Grant in 1977 after the end of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Asner went on to play in several other television shows including Thunder Alley and Hawaii Five-O. Asner’s acting talents do not end at the television screen however; Asner has also acted extensively in stage, film, as well as voice performances, Asner was the voice of Carl Fredrickson in Up. Asner has won seven Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and been nominated for 20 Emmy Awards.
Although Asner continues to act, activism and community service has also played a large role in his life. Asner served as the Screen Actors Guild president for two terms from 1981 to 1985. Asner is a member of the Defenders of Wildlife conservation organization and has taken many outspoken stances on 9/11 and is an advocate for the Autism Speaks organization, which helps children with autism.
Asner has been married twice and has four children. Asner married Nancy Sykes in 1959; they were divorced in 1988. In 1998 Asner married Cindy Gilmore; they were divorced in 2007.
Entry: Asner, Ed
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: May 2012
Date Modified: July 2016
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.