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Edward Asner
Edward Asner.jpg
Born Yitzhak Edward Asner
November 15, 1929
Kansas City, Missouri
Died August 29, 2021
Los Angeles, California (Age 91)
Characters played J. Jonah Jameson
J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Carnage Universe)
J. Jonah Jameson (Spider-Man (Armored) Universe)
Barr
Ben Parker

Yitzhak Edward Asner (born November 15, 1929; died August 29, 2021), known professionally as Edward Asner and Ed Asner, was 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 Officer Barr on Spider-Man: The New Animated Series and Ben Parker on The Spectacular Spider-Man.

His role as Jameson got him a Daytime Emmy Awards nomination for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program.

He is primarily remembered 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 was the former President of the Screen Actors Guild. An avid comic book fan, Asner was 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 preferred Edward even though he is more popularly known as Ed.

Biography

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. He was the youngest of five children.

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. In high school, he was the editor of the school's newspaper.

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.

In 2003, he once again gained praise for playing Santa Claus in the Jon Favreau directed film Elf. He was the only actor to reprise the role for the television special Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas which featured Jim Parsons and Mark Hamill.

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

Politics

Asner had rarely been active in politics or union activities. However, during the 1980 actors strike, he became very vocal. This later prompted him to get involved.

In 1981, Asner began serving as the president of the Screen Actors Guild, and drew plenty of controversy in the process. He was criticized for making political statements about the United States' involvement in El Salvador. His outspoken nature is rumored to have cost him his series Lou Grant which, despite high ratings and critical reception, was cancelled after five seasons in addition to losing other lucrative offers. His public statements were criticized as an abuse of his office. Nevertheless, he would continue criticizing the entertainment industry's labor standards while fighting for unions.

Following the dissolution of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization by actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan, SAG rescinded an award to Reagan though Asner himself did not vote on the issue.

Asner was also a vocal critic of Apartheid in South Africa.

He then fought for combining the Screen Actors Guild and the Screen Extras Guild, facing opposition from within the ranks. He fought openly with fellow actor and Reagan supporter Charlton Heston, which almost came to libel action. Eventually the SEG was dissolved and absorbed into SAG in 1992.

Asner's battles included improving employment and compensation conditions for actors. He also championed the combination of SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which would happen in 2012 creating SAG-AFTRA.

Asner was reelected in 1983 in a landslide election. He stepped down in 1985 and gave his support to Patty Duke, who served as president until 1988. He would continue defending his political activism calling it not a "luxury, but a necessity" throughout his life.

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 2nd, 1998. However, Gilmore filed for divorce on November 7th, 2007.

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

Asner died on August 29th, 2021, at age of ninety-one in Los Angeles, California. He was survived by his four children.[1][2] No cause of death was given.

Roles

Awards

Year Award Category For Result
1971 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Winner
1972 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Winner
1972 Golden Globes Best Supporting Actor - Television The Mary Tyler Moore Show Winner
1973 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1973 Golden Globes Best Supporting Actor - Television The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1974 Primetime Emmy Awards Best Supporting Actor in Comedy Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1974 Golden Globes Best Supporting Actor - Television The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1975 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Winner
1975 Golden Globes Best TV Actor - Comedy or Musical The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1976 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1976 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series Axel Jordache in Rich Man, Poor Man Winner
1976 Golden Globes Best Supporting Actor - Television The Mary Tyler Moore Show Winner
1977 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show Nominee
1977 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series Captain Thomas Davies in Roots Winner
1977 Golden Globes Best Supporting Actor - Television Rich Man, Poor Man Winner
1978 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Lou Grant in Lou Grant Winner
1978 Golden Globes Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama Lou Grant Winner
1979 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Lou Grant in Lou Grant Nominee
1979 Golden Globes Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama Lou Grant Nominee
1980 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Lou Grant in Lou Grant Winner
1980 Golden Globes Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama Lou Grant Winner
1981 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Lou Grant in Lou Grant Nominee
1981 Golden Globes Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama Lou Grant Nominee
1982 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Lou Grant in Lou Grant Nominee
1982 Golden Globes Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama Lou Grant Nominee
1984 CableACE Awards Actor in a Dramatic or Theatrical Program A Case of Libel Nominee
1987 Banff Television Festival Award of Excellence Winner
1989 CableACE Awards Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries A Friendship in Vienna Nominee
1991 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series Hoggish Greedly in Captain Planet and the Planeteers Nominee
1992 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Walter Kovacs in The Trials of Rosie O'Neill Nominee
1992 Walk of Fame Television Winner
1996 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man Nominee
1998 Online Film & Television Association Actors and Actresses Hall of Fame Winner
2000 Screen Actors Guild Awards Ralph Morgan Award Winner
2002 Screen Actors Guild Awards Life Achievement Award Winner
2004 TV Land Awards Groundbreaking Show The Mary Tyler Moore Show Winner
2005 Sedona International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
2006 California Independent Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
2007 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie Luke Spelman Nominee
2007 Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards Director The Christmas Card Winner
2009 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Abraham Klein in CSI: NY Nominee
2009 Gold Derby Awards Life Achievement Award (Performer) Nominee
2009 Online Film & Television Association Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series CSI: NY Nominee
2009 Scream Awards Best Fantasy Actor Up Nominee
2010 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Kid Potato in WordGirl Nominee
2010 Gold Derby Awards Life Achievement Award (Performer) Nominee
2010 Visual Effects Society Awards Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Up Winner
2012 Behind the Voice Actors Awards Best Vocal Ensemble in a TV Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or Short All-Star Superman Winner
2013 New Media Film Festival Best Actor Good Men Winner
2015 Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City Best Actor in a Short Pacific Edge Winner
2015 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards Best Actor Pacific Edge Winner
2016 Nettuno Video Shorts Festival Best Actor Like a Butterfly Winner
2016 Richmond International Film Festival Legacy Award Like a Butterfly Winner
2016 Social World Film Festival Best Actor Like a Butterfly Winner
2017 Barcelona International Film Festival Gold Lion Award Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Winner
2017 Beverly Hills Film Festival Best Picture Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Winner
2017 Canadian Screen Awards, CA Best Performance in a Guest Role, Dramatic Series Forgive Me Winner
2017 Impact Docs Awards Documentary Feature Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Winner
2017 Los Angeles Film Awards Best Documentary Feature Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Winner
2017 Mexico International Film Festival Documentary Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Winner
2017 New York City Independent Film Festival Documentaries Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Nominee
2017 UK Film Festival Best Feature Documentary Tupamaro: Urban Guerrillas Winner
2017 Voice Arts Awards Outstanding Storytelling, Best Performance Powder Burns: An Original Western Audio Drama Winner
2018 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in a Children's, Preschool Children's or Educational and Informational Program Santa Claus in A StoryBots Christmas Nominee
2019 Santa Fe Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award The Parting Glass Winner

References

External Links

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