Ed Asner has died. The “Mary Tyler Moore Show” veteran passed away on Sunday, August 29, 2021 surrounded by his family, according to TMZ. No cause of death has been given. Asner was 91 years old.
Asner was best known for playing gruff newsroom boss Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” from 1970 to 1977. The role scored him a spinoff titled “Lou Grant.” More recently, the seven-time Emmy winner had a recurring role as Sid Weinberg on “Cobra Kai,” per IMDb.
Asner was one of the last surviving “Mary Tyler Moore” cast members. In January 2021, his co-star Cloris Leachman, who played Phyllis Lindstrom on the show, passed away at age 94, and in May 2021, Gavin MacLeod, who played Murray Slaughter on the show, died at age 90, per Variety.
The only main “Mary Tyler Moore” cast member still alive is Betty White, who is 98 years old.
Celebrities Are Mourning Asner’s Death
On social media, celebrity friends paid tribute to Asner, including “Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick, who wrote that she was “heartbroken” by his death. McCormick described Asner as a “dear friend” who made “this world a better place.”
“Star Trek” alum George Takei also reacted to Asner’s death.
“Ed Asner, who won seven Emmy awards including five for the unforgettable role of Lou Grant, has passed away,” wrote Takei. “He was a giant on the screen, and a philanthropist, too. A man of true heart and talent. He will be missed.”
Josh Gad, who worked with Asner on the animated sitcom “Central Park,” wrote, “I am heartbroken to say goodbye to our friend #EdAsner who graced #CentralParkTV as the voice of Bitsy’s brother Ambrose. He was a Legend, a beautiful soul and a truly brilliant actor. Love you sir! We will miss down here, but smiling that you are have fittingly gone Up.”
“Oh Ed Asner Rest In Peace and power friend. What a truly good and honorable human you were. Gratitude for all you did for the screen Actors Guild, when it was a true Union bless you,” wrote Rosanna Arquette.
Filmmaker Michael Moore shared a touching story about Asner. Moore revealed that when he was first starting out, Asner sent him $500 to work on his first film.
Jon Cryer, who worked with Asner in the 1994 movie “Heads,” recalled one of Asner’s most iconic lines on the first episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”
“Hey, you’ve got spunk! I hate spunk.,” Cryer tweeted. “A great performer and a great guy. Working with him and learning from him was an honor. So many wonderful roles but Lou Grant was one for the ages. #RIPEdAsner.”
“Ed Asner was a fine man and a great actor,” wrote “Laverne & Shirley” alum Michael McKean. “He was tough in the ways that count and suffered no fools. I acted with him just once and knew how lucky I was to do so. A hero. Rest in peace, Ed.”
Asner Commemorated the 50th Anniversary of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ Last Year
In 2020, Asner marked the 50th anniversary of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” by paying homage to his most famous line from the series. The actor shared a montage of photos from the long-running series, including a pic from the premiere episode.
In the caption to the post, Asner wrote. “50 years ago this very day I was fortunate enough to speak the words ‘I hate spunk.’ I have heard them repeated back to me thousands of times. I have always embraced them. They represent love, friendship, success, fulfilled dreams and so much more.”
In addition to Asner, White, Leachman and MacLeod, the series starred the late actresses Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, and Georgia Engel. Ted Knight, who also appeared on the show, died in 1986.
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