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Ed Asner, TV icon and star of Pixar's 'Up', has died

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Ed Asner, best known for being one of TV’s most decorated actors, has died aged 91.

In a statement shared by his family, the actor passed away peacefully this morning (August 29). No cause of death has yet been revealed.

“We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning peacefully,” the statement read. “Words cannot express the sadness we feel. With a kiss on your head- Goodnight dad. We love you.”

Born in 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri, Edward David Asner started his acting career in college, appearing in a number of productions at the University of Chicago. After serving in the US Army’s Signal Corps in the early 1950s, he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting, with theatre an early passion.

His list of TV credits is huge, with his most famous role being Lou Grant, the grumbling but lovable newsman, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its titular spin-off series, Lou Grant. Other series included ER, Rich Man, Poor ManStudio 60 On The Sunset Strip, RootsThe Good Wife and more recently, Cobra Kai.

Although his film resume isn’t as substantial, he starred in a few fan favourites including the comedy Christmas favourite Elf, which saw Asner play Santa. He also appeared in JFK, They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, Hard Rain, and there are a few films he worked on that are still yet to be released.

He had an extensive voice acting career – most notably playing grouchy Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s Up, as well as a variety of TV roles including J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s Spider-Man series, Hoggish Greedly in Captain Planet And The Planeteers, Ed Wuncler on The Boondocks, and a Jedi master in a Star Wars video game.

His voice will also appear in the Up spin-off Dug Days which is set to launch on Disney+ this coming week.

Asner was the recipient of seven Emmy Awards, the most of any male performer in television history. Five were for the The Mary Tyler Moore Show, one was for his role as Captain Thomas Davies in Roots, and the final one for his role as Axel Jordache in the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man.

He also won five Golden Globes and was the recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 1996, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

Aside from his acting work, Asner worked to protect the rights of his fellow performers as a former president of the Screen Actors Guild and he raised a lot of money for a number of various charitable causes.

Tributes have begun to pour in for the actor, including one from filmmaker Michael Moore who remembered Asner’s kindness, even dealing with strangers. “Making my 1st film, Roger & Me, I was broke so I wrote to some famous people to ask for help,” Moore wrote. “Only one responded: Ed Asner. ‘I don’t know you, kid, but here’s 500 bucks’ said the note attached to the check. ‘Sounds like it’ll be a great film. I was an autoworker once.’ R.I.P. Ed”

Star Trek actor George Takei wrote: “Ed Asner, who won seven Emmy awards including five for the unforgettable role of Lou Grant, has passed away. He was a giant on the screen, and a philanthropist, too. A man of true heart and talent. He will be missed.”

Halloween director and horror legend John Carpenter tweeted: “Ed Asner was a talented actor and a very nice man. He always had a twinkle in his eye. Rest In Peace, Ed.”

“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,” added Frozen actor Josh Gad.

See more tributes to Asner below:

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