Veteran actor Ed Asner passed away on August 29, and in the week following his death, his friends, fans, and costars have been offering up their words of tribute to the beloved public figure. Asner was 91, and he was clearly beloved for his work on and off-screen. Actress Zooey Deschanel was the latest to offer up her condolences.
Asner and Deschanel co-starred in the Christmas classic Elf alongside Will Ferrell In 2003, where Deschanel played Ferrell’s love Interest Jovie and Asner was Santa Clause. Deschanel shared a photo of Asner from the film on her Instagram, writing “Rest In Peace my favorite Santa Claus. You will be so missed.”
Asner has a long list of credits, and it’s hard to narrow down to the most notable ones. He played Lou Grant throughout the 1970s and 1980s when the character jumped from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to his own spinoff, Lou Grant. He was a seven-time Emmy Award winner and was even the president of the Screen Actors Guild for a while, giving him immense respect among his fellow performers. Asner had some iconic movie roles throughout his career as well — from Bart Jason in El Dorado in 1966 to Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s Up in 2009.
Asner made several other appearances on TV throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, but The Mary Tyler Moore Show was his undisputed big break. Some of his credits during that time included the original Mission: Impossible, W.I.T.C.H. and The Outer Limits, among others. He first portrayed Lou Grant in 1970, and continued until 1982.
Asner even pioneered the idea of a “shared fictional universe” by portraying Lou Grant on other sitcoms — Rhoda and Roseanne. Meanwhile, he had roles on Studio 50 and the Sunset Strip, the original Hawaii Five-O and Dead Man’s Gun. He later reprised his Hawaii Five-O role in the 2012 remake, lending some continuity to the show.
Younger fans likely know Asner best for his voice, as he worked more and more in animation starting in the late 1990s. He played Joshua in Hanna-Barbera’s Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, J. Jonah Jameson in the 1994 animated Spider-Man series and Ed Wuncler on The Boondocks starting in 2005. The peak of Asner’s voice acting career is likely as the surly widower Carl in Up.