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Legendary Actor Ed Asner Known For Philanthropy & 'The Mary Tyler Moore' Show Dies At 91

Aug. 29 2021, Published 3:09 p.m. ET

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Hollywood TV legend Ed Asner known for his work as "Lou Grant" in The Mary Tyler Moore Show has died peacefully at 91.

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Asner came from humble beginnings, born in Kansas City on November 15, 1929. The one day showbiz bigwig got his start in theatre in Chicago and quickly worked his way to Hollywood, going on to win 7 Emmy awards — the most of any male actor — as well as a SAG Life Achievement Award in 2001.

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A beloved family name and a talented actor, he was not only a generous and avid philanthropist, but a staunch political activist who was unafraid to oppose President Reagan, promote single payer health insurance, campaign to free an imprisoned American journalist, and despite being president of SAG, he helped lead the charge for two separate strikes.

When asked about how making waves politically affected his career, he responded, "Well, you have to make a choice. If you want to get in trouble, then you'll open your mouth," the actor once said. "But there's only so much you can do."

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"I didn't know I was getting politically involved. I thought I was speaking about humanity. But it became political," Asner wisely went on. "But as soon as you discover that you've been political, you have to be prepared to either run back quickly . . . or prepare to walk into the wind."

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The former Elf actor is well known for his classic role as "Lou Grant" in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as well as the following spinoff series named after his character (which he believed was cancelled because of his activism).

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In more recent history, he had roles in popular steaming comedies including Grace and Frankie, Cobra Kai, and Dead To Me, and performed in a wide array of voice acting gigs in children's shows such as Batman: The Animated Series, Gargoyles, and Spongebob Squarepants.

The role that was perhaps his most beloved of the 2000s was the crotchety old Mr. Carl Frederickson in Pixar's heartbreakingly uplifting 2009 flick Up.

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The former president of the Screen Actors Guild passed away on Sunday with the comfort of loved ones all around him as they said their final goodbyes.

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His family broke the sad news via Twitter on Sunday, August 29 with a post to his official account. "We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully. Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head- Goodnight dad. We love you."

Asner is survived by his 4 children — Matthew, Liza, Kate, and Charles.

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