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  • Writer's pictureAlex Matthews

The Academy Remembers Ed Asner

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

Ed Asner, an incredible character actor who received seven Emmy Awards for his work, five of them for playing Lou Grant, introduced on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and later starred in films such as “Elf” and “Up,” sadly passed away August 29th, 2021.

Mr. Asner was also president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981 to 1985. While that kept him busy, he still found time for fixing issues in and out of the entertainment industry. The causes he supported included unionism (in particular the air traffic controllers’ strike of 1981) and animal rights; those he protested against included the American military presence in El Salvador.

Academy’s company director on the Los Angeles campus, Betty Karlen, got to work with him for two seasons of “The Bronx Zoo.” Here's what she shared about him:

“He was the kindest man, not only to me and the show regulars but to all the guest actors. He had incredible patience and was just really a kind man.

We used to practice our scenes together and I remember one time he had this monologue and he turns to me and says ‘I’m going to do it, I want you off-screen, and nod if you like it.’ So, I said ‘okay.’ Well he does his monologue for the camera and he turns to me and I shake my head. I knew he could do better. He said ‘I need to do it one more time, can I get five minutes?’ He came back and was brilliant. He was my boss on the show and we were constantly bickering.

He was such an amazing actor, he would make one little look and just steal the scene - the prick!

One thing I really admired about Ed was that, even though he was very vocal about his politics, he always made it a point to really hear out the other side, a practice more people should undertake.

He was a fantastic actor, Mr. Television, and he was a great man. I cried when I heard the news. The world is a better place for having Ed in it.”

Duke Daniel Pierce contributed to this piece.


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