US actor Ed Asner accepts the Life Achievement Award at the 8th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles in 2002.
US actor Ed Asner accepts the Life Achievement Award at the 8th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles in 2002.
(CNN) —  

Here is a look at the life of activist and seven-time Emmy Award winning actor Ed Asner.


Birth date: November 15, 1929

Birth place: Kansas City, Missouri

Birth name: Etye Asner

Father: Morris David Asner, scrap metal dealer

Mother: Lizzie (Seliger) Asner

Marriages: Cindy Gilmore (1998-2007, divorced); Nancy Sykes (1959-1988, divorced)

Children: With Carol Jean Vogelman: Charles; with Nancy Sykes: Kathryn, Matthew and Liza (twins)

Education: Attended the University of Chicago, 1947-1949

Military: US Army Signal Corps

Other Facts

Nominated for 21 Emmy Awards, including 17 Primetime Emmys and four Daytime Emmys. He has won seven for primetime.

Only actor to win both a comedy and a drama Primetime Emmy for the same role, for “Lou Grant.”

He played Lou Grant on four different television series: “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Rhoda,” “Lou Grant” and “Roseanne.”

Has been outspoken about his opposition to war.

He is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.


1950s - Member of Chicago’s Playwrights Theatre Club before moving to New York.

1957 - Makes his television debut in the drama “Studio One.”

1960 - Lands his first Broadway role in “Face of a Hero” with Jack Lemmon.

1962 - Is cast in his first film role in Elvis Presley’s “Kid Galahad.”

September 19, 1970 - The first telecast of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” airs on CBS. Asner stars for seven seasons as “Lou Grant,” the curmudgeonly producer of the WJM-TV news.

1971-1972 - Wins two consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Performance By An Actor In a Supporting Role for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

1975 - Wins an Emmy for Outstanding Continuing Performance By a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

1976 - Wins an Emmy for his portrayal as Axel Jordache in “Rich Man, Poor Man.”

January 1977 - Portrays slave trade Captain Thomas Davies on the TV mini-series, “Roots,” winning an Emmy for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Drama Series.

March 19, 1977 - The final episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” airs on CBS.

September 20, 1977 - Premiere of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” spin-off, “Lou Grant.”

1978 - Wins an Emmy for Lead Actor In a Drama Series for “Lou Grant.”

1980 - Wins an Emmy for Lead Actor In a Drama Series for “Lou Grant.”

1981 - After advocating for the unions during the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike in 1980, Asner is elected SAG president.

1982 - CBS cancels “Lou Grant” after five seasons reportedly due to low ratings. Asner attributes the cancellation to his political activism.

1983 - Asner is reelected for a second term as SAG president.

1985 - Patty Duke replaces Asner as SAG president.

1996 - Is inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.

2002 - Is presented with the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award.

April 2004 - Writes an open letter to peace and justice leaders about the tragedy of 9/11 and the subsequent perpetuation of an “endless war” as a means to restrict civil liberties in the United States.

May 19, 2008 - Oprah Winfrey hosts the surviving cast members of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” to reflect on the series.

2009 - Provides the voice for “Carl Fredricksen” in the Academy Award-winning animated film, “Up.”

2011 - Portrays Warren Buffett in HBO’s “Too Big to Fail.”

October 4, 2012-January 6, 2013 - Appears on Broadway in the production of “Grace,” after having not been on stage since 1989.

March 12, 2013 - Falls ill during his one-man show, “FDR,” in Gary, Indiana, and is rushed to the hospital. His publicist later says Asner was diagnosed with exhaustion.

June 2013 - Voices his support for Edward Snowden, who leaked confidential information regarding the US government’s surveillance programs.

October 10, 2017 - Release of Asner’s book, “The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs.”

March 22, 2018 - Announces the creation of the Ed Asner Family Center, which supports people who are differently abled.

2019 - The documentary “Ed Asner: On Stage and Off” is released.