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Jewish actor Ed Asner, TV’s blustery but lovable Lou Grant, dies at 91

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29.08.2021

LOS ANGELES — Ed Asner, the burly and prolific actor who became a star in middle age as the gruff but lovable newsman Lou Grant, first in the hit comedy “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and later in the drama “Lou Grant,” died Sunday. He was 91.

Asner’s representative confirmed the Jewish actor’s death in an email to The Associated Press. Asner’s official Twitter account included a note from his children: “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.”

Built like the football lineman he once was, the balding Asner was a journeyman actor in films and TV when he was hired in 1970 to play Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” For seven seasons, he was the rumpled boss to Moore’s ebullient Mary Richards (he called her “Mary,” she called him “Mr. Grant”) at the fictional Minneapolis TV newsroom where both worked. Later, he would play the role for five years on “Lou Grant.”

Asner’s character caught on from the first episode of “Mary Tyler Moore,” when he told Mary in their initial meeting, “You’ve got spunk…. I hate spunk!” The inspired cast included Ted Knight as Ted Baxter, the dimwitted news anchor; Gavin MacLeod as Murray Slaughter, the sarcastic news writer; and Betty White as the manipulative, sex-obsessed home show hostess, Sue Ann Nivens. Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman, playing Mary’s neighbors, both saw their characters spun off into their own shows.

Asner is the third “Mary Tyler Moore” alum to die in recent months. Leachman died in January and MacLeod died in March.

The 99-year-old White is the lone surviving main cast member from “Mary Tyler Moore.”

“Mary Tyler Moore” was still a hit when the star decided to pursue other interests, and so it was brought to an end in the seventh season, with a hilarious finale in which all of the principals were fired except for the bumbling Baxter.

Asner went immediately into “Lou Grant,” his character moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to become city editor of the Tribune, a crusading newspaper under the........

© The Times of Israel


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