When that popular sitcom finished, Asner continued using the play spinoff Lou Grant. He won Emmy Awards for both shows. Asner’s voice also starred in many animated features, including Pixar’s Upward. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981 85.
For over a decade, Asner pleased television audiences with his portrayal of the rough, grumbling, but finally lovable newsman Lou Grant. This award winning performer began on his preferred career path in school, appearing in productions in the University of Chicago.
While he got a few stage characters and made some television appearances, his career did not really take off until he got a part on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77). The show was groundbreaking because of its time, revealing a completely independent girl focused on her profession. Crowds adored his portrayal of the character, as well as reviewers and peers at the same time.
Though still popular, the show finished in 1977. During its closing episode, most members of the TV station’s news staff were fired after new management took over.
While The Mary Tyler Moore Show was completed, the character of Lou Grant lived on. He moved to La to become the city editor to get a La paper on the remarkable show Lou Grant (1977 82). Asner’s character frequently went head to head with all the paper’s publisher, Margaret Pynchon, played by Nancy Marchand. While the show had its share of lighter moments, it took on many significant problems, including gun control and child abuse.
In the later years of the show, Asner became known for speaking out on numerous societal and political issues, particularly in opposition to the U.S. participation in Central America. The show was canceled in 1982, apparently because of poor standings, while some—including Asner—have supposed that the performer’s activism may have affected the choice to stop the series.
While it might have lost a few of its own crowd over time, Lou Grant stayed a crucial success, winning the Emmy Award for outstanding drama show in both 1979 and 1980.
Through the remaining 1980s and ’90s, Asner worked on various jobs. He returned to TV several times, making appearances on Hearts Afire (199293) with John Ritter, Thunder Alley (1994 95) with Haley Joel Osment and The Closer (1998) with Tom Selleck. He also appeared on The Practice (1997 04) and held a regular character on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (2006-07). In this Country Music Television first show, Asner starred as a butcher who befriends a struggling single mom.
Asner has additionally brought his gifts to feature films, including a comic turn as Santa Claus in the 2003 comedy Elf, starring opposite Will Farrell. In 2007, the performer garnered an Emmy Award nomination because of his work with the TV movie The Christmas Card.
Over time, Asner has also added his hallmark voice to several animated series, including Fish Police (1992), The Magic School Bus (1994-98) and Spider Man (1994 98). Maybe most notably, in 2009, he did voiceover work for the award winning Pixar movie Upward.
Along with his acting work, Asner served as president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1981 85.
In March 2013, Asner was launched from a Chicago hospital as a result of exhaustion. He was hospitalized for 2 days after having been pulled off stage in a performance in Gary, Indiana.
Asner has been married twice and has three kids—Matthew, Liza and Kate—from his first marriage to Nancy Sykes. Asner wed Cindy Gilmore in 1998; the couple divorced in 2007.