In 1947, an editor of the Wyandotte High School newspaper in Kansas dreamt of becoming a newsman. Instead, Ed Asner went on to pursue a career in acting and portrayed one of the most iconic newsmen in television history, Lou Grant. Asner won five Primetime Emmy Awards for his portrayal of Lou Grant, first as Mary Richards’ boss on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and then in the title role of the spin-off series. He won two more Emmy Awards making Asner the most honored male performer in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards.
Asner was supposed to perform in the Triangle next month in the Temple Theatre production of A Man and His Prostate. He spoke to Beltline to Broadway in advance of when the show was supposed to initially run at Temple Theatre (pre-COVID) over a year ago.
Hear what he had to say about his storied career, his activism, and his legacy.
About the Guest
Ed Asner has been an enduring presence in television, film and stage for 60 years. Developing his craft in Chicago and New York, Ed established himself as a solid and versatile performer, regularly featured in roles on the big screen and in such landmark television series as The Outer Limits, Gunsmoke, The Wild Wild West, Ironside, and Mission Impossible, totaling more than 100 television credits.
In the ’70s, his role as Lou Grant in the long-running hit sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show catapulted him to stardom. He then cemented himself as an “actor’s actor”, perpetuating his character in the dramatic series Lou Grant. Asner is the only actor to have won an Emmy for the same role in both a comedy and a drama (five total as Lou Grant). He went on to win two more Emmy Awards for complex roles in the mega-hit miniseries Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man.
In addition to his celebrated work in television, he turned in unforgettable performances in films such as JFK, Elf, and Pacific Edge.
He returned to Broadway in Grace, and toured the country with his one-man show FDR, portraying President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also served two terms as President of the Screen Actors Guild, protecting the rights of professional working actors.