Ed Asner, ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ & ‘Lou Grant’ star, dead at 91

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Betty White is the last woman standing.

Ed Asner, who along with White was one of two living main cast members of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, has died at age 91, according to his verified Twitter account. “We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” read the tweet. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head- Goodnight dad. We love you.”

The Emmy-winning Asner portrayed Mary Richards’ tough boss Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and in the hour-long spinoff drama Lou Grant. He was the only actor to win Emmys for playing the same character in both a comedy and drama.

While he’s best-known for playing Grant, Asner also won Emmys for his roles in the hit TV miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots, bringing his career Emmy total to seven.

The series Lou Grant took on social issues, as Asner did in his personal life and as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. However, his activism didn’t always sit well with network executives or advertisers. When CBS abruptly canceled Lou Grant while it was still a top-10 show, Asner believed that it was due to his left-wing political views.

According to Variety, Asner defended his political activism throughout his life, calling it “not a luxury, but a necessity.”

After MTM and Lou Grant ended, Asner continued to work in movies and on TV, most recently appearing on Grace & Frankie, Cobra Kai, Dead to Me, Modern Family and Blue Bloods. In addition, he had a successful career providing voiceovers for animated movies like Up, in which he played the lead role of Carl Fredricksen. Among the animated TV shows he lent his voice to: King of the Hill, American Dad, SpongeBob SquarePants, Central Park and many more.

Asner, whose two marriages ended in divorce, is survived by four children.

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