Yitzak Edward Asner was born on November 15, 1929 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Versatile, committed, eloquent, and talented: all these adjectives describe actor/activist Edward Asner. Perhaps best known for his award-winning comedic and dramatic portrayal of journalist Lou Grant, Asner achieved a crossover success with this character that most actors can only dream of.
Asner originated the role of Lou Grant, the grumpy boss with the heart of gold, on the smash comedy "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." For this role he won Emmys in 1971, 1972, and 1975. He harnessed the same award for the same character in 1978 and 1980 on the highly acclaimed dramatic series "Lou Grant." Asner added two more Emmys for performances in "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots." He has also won five Golden Globe Awards.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Chicago, where he appeared as Thomas Beckett in "Murder in the Cathedral." As a member of the campus dramatic group "Tonight at Eight-Thirty," he was directed by the young Mike Nichols and appeared in works by authors such as Shaw and Yeats.
A two-year hitch in the Army interrupted Asner's theatrical aspirations. As soon as he was discharged, Asner returned to Chicago and joined the Playwrights' Theater Club, which was headed by Paul Sills and David Shepard. After two years, Asner left to pursue his dreams on the New York stage, where he appeared with Jack Lemmon in "Face of a Hero." He also appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions as well as the American and New York Shakespeare Festivals.
In 1961, Asner moved his family to Hollywood, where he began making a name for himself as an accomplished film and television actor, both comedic and dramatic. Motion picture credits include "El Dorado," "Skin Game," "Fort Apache -- The Bronx," "They Call Me Mr. Tibbs," "Daniel," and "JFK." Additional television credits include "The Christmas Star" and "Cruel Doubt." Asner's voice can be heard on the animated TV series "Captain Planet," "Batman," and "Gargoyles."
Ed Asner won five Emmy awards for portraying the character of Lou Grant, a lovable, grumpy lug in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977), and a crusading newspaperman for the spin-off series Lou Grant (1977-1982). Asner's public persona is also that of a crusader, a celebrity activist considered left of center. Asner served as National President of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms from 1981 to 1985. As a leading activist in the actors' strike of 1980, he was an outspoken, controversial leader. Asner continues to be active in many humanitarian and political organizations. His boundless energy is divided between his dramatic roles, various political and charitable causes, and project developments with his company Quince Productions, Inc.