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Edward Asner
Edward Asner
Born Yitzhak Edward Asner
November 15, 1929 (1929-11-15) (age 90)
Kansas City, Missouri
Characters played J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Carnage Universe)
J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man (Armored) Universe)
Ben Parker

Yitzhak Edward Asner (born November 15, 1929), known professionally as Edward Asner and Ed Asner, is an actor known as Spider-Man's J. Jonah Jameson, his Spider-Carnage counterpart, and Spider-Man (Armored) counterpart. His prominent role in the earlier series got him the part of Barr on Spider-Man: The New Animated Series and Ben Parker on The Spectacular Spider-Man.

He is primarily known for his role as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant. He may have gotten the role because of the similarities between Jameson and Grant.

He is the former President of the Screen Actors Guild. An avid comic book fan, Asner is a member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a free speech organization that's dedicated to protecting comic book creators and retailers from prosecutions based on content.

Professionally, he prefers Edward Asner even though he is more popularly known as Ed Asner.


Early Life

Asner was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Lizzie (nee Seliger) and Morris David Asner. Morris ran a second-hand shop and Lizzie was a housewife. Asner was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family and spent many hours at the Granada movie theater. He attended Wyandotte High School and later the University of Chicago. In school Asner had to defend himself both vocally and physically. A born competitor, he played championship football in high school and organized a top-notch basketball team which toured most of liberated Europe. He then served with the United States Army Signal Corps in Europe.

Acting Career

Asner was a member of the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago. In the mid-1950s Asner left for New York before he company regrouped as the Compass Players. He later made guest appearances with the successor to Compass, Second City, and is considered part of the Second City extended family.

Between 1960 and 1965, he established himself as one of television's most reliable villains, thanks to his resemblance to certain Soviet politicians. The actor was particularly busy during the spy-show boom of the mid-'60s. Asner guest starred on television several television series such as NBC's The Outlaws and CBS's The Reporter.

Asner's most well known role is Lou Grant from The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. When the series neared its end in 1977 Asner got his own award-winning spin-off Lou Grant. While Mary Tyler Moore was a thirty minute comedy, Lou Grant was an hour long drama. Asner is the only actor to win an Emmy Award for a sitcom and drama as the same role. Although no tangible proof has ever been offered, it was Asner's belief that CBS canceled Lou Grant in 1982 because of his politics and not dwindling ratings.

Asner won an Emmy Award for his role as Captain Davies in the 1977 mini-series Roots. Davies was highly developed and full of metaphors on tortured ethics and the morality of slavery. However, biographer Alex Haley admitted that he had no idea who the actual captain was meaning much of the character was made up.

Voice Acting

Asner has made an extensive name for himself in voice acting. In addition to Jameson he had a leading role as Hudson on Gargoyles.

He made appearances as Roland Daggett in the DC Animated Universe as Roland Daggett, Hephaestus, and Granny Goodness.

He played Jabba the Hutt on the radio version of Star Wars and Master Vrook in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel.

He recent played Carl Fredricksen in Pixar Animation Studios's 2009 film Up.

Personal Life

He was married to Nancy Sykes from 1959 till 1988. Together they have three children, twins Matthew and Liza, and Kate. In 1987 he had a son named Charles with Carol Jean Vogelman. He engaged producer Cindy Gilmore in 1991 and married on August 2, 1998. However, Gilmore filed for divorce on November 7, 2007.

His former daughter-in-law is model and television personality Jules Asner. His nephew, Gavin Newsom, is currently the elected governor of California.

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