Hollywood Pays Tribute to “Beautiful Soul” Ed Asner – The Hollywood Reporter

In the wake of Ed Asner’s death on Sunday, Hollywood figures took to social media to pay tribute to the seven-time Emmy-winner who charmed audiences with his roles in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Up. He was 91.

Ted Sarandos, co-CEO and chief content officer at Netflix, was among those who paid tribute. “He was the single biggest influence on my life and early career,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to interview him when I was an aspiring journalist, just out of high school. He was brave enough to put his fame and money on the line to speak out against injustice. Lost his sponsors (Kimberly Clark) for speaking out against U.S. military action in El Salvador, which led CBS to cancel Lou Grant. He defined the activist celebrity and used his platform, even if it came at a personal cost. He introduced me to great people in the years following and gave me sage advice and he was a great actor and champion of actors.”

Actor Josh Gad wrote on Twitter, “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.”

Cobra Kai showrunner Josh Heald reflected on having Asner on the series as Johnny Lawrence’s childhood friend Sid. “Getting to work with @TheOnlyEdAsner on @CobraKaiSeries made a surreal experience even deeper. What a sense of humor on that man. He was a Day 1 Cobra Kai for life. We will dearly miss our Sid.”

Maureen McCormic said she was “heartbroken” over the news of Asner’s passing, tweeting “Rest In Peace my sweet, kind and dear friend Ed. You made and will continue to make this world a better place. I love you and will miss you so very much.”

Yvette Nicole Brown shared a story of Niecy Nash’s about Asner on Twitter. “I will always remember the story ⁦ @NiecyNash told of his kindness to her when she was just starting out & how he then came to her #WalkOfFame Ceremony decades later.”

Katie Couric took to Instagram to pay tribute to Asner, writing “RIP Ed Asner, forever Lou Grant to me. Thank you for the laughs and for a life of intelligence and integrity.”

Keith Olbermann wrote of Asner on Twitter, “We’ve lost one of the great humans. Ed Asner went from the over-the-top comedy of MTM, to taking the SAME character and making him the centerpiece of an underrated drama of “Lou Grant.” I met him, where else, at a charity event. His life was charity.”

Rosanna Arquette paid respects to Asner on Twitter, writing “what a truly good and honorable human you were,” and thanked him for his service to the Screen Actors Guild. Asner served two terms as president from 1981-85, and sparred often with Charlton Heston, a noted conservative who preceded him as head of the guild. He received the SAG Life Achievement Award in 2002.

Said Frances Fisher: “Ed Asner is a legacy SAG president, a consummate award-winning actor, a close friend and a dedicated unionist until the end, who extolled his belief that our SAG-AFTRA Membership First has priority.”

Former M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit starred with Asner in a Roosevelt University (Chicago) production of An Evening With the Roosevelts in 2015. She played Eleanor to his Franklin. She remembered her co-star: “Oh God! He was the best there was. I am devastated. I loved him so much! He was the best of the best. It doesn’t get better than my dear friend. My beloved Franklin Roosevelt. I finite experience sharing a stage with this remarkable man.”

Another former M*A*S*H star, Jamie Farr, was currently working with Asner in a staged reading of Two Jews Talking, that was to take place Sept. 2-4 at Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina. “Ed was a wonderful man and I had a long good friendship with him,” Farr said. “I was looking forward to doing an upcoming reading with him of Two Jews Talking. We just had rehearsal last Tuesday. We are heartbroken, heartsick and devastated by the news and send love to the family.”

Last month, Ruta Lee appeared with Asner in a staged reading of Theatre 40’s Another Gin Game in Beverly Hills. “I am devastated by the news of our dear Ed’s passing, but so honored that I got to work with him again just recently. He was a real trooper. His wild and wicked sense of humor made life more joyous for everyone who crossed his path.”

“Ed was a good friend,” recalled Mike Farrell, another former M*A*S*H star. “He was a loud, sometimes brash, always outspoken, courageous champion of justice. A light went out in the universe at his passing. [My wife] Shelley [Fabares] and I will miss him dearly.”

Added Lucie Arnaz: “Ed was what we in the business like to refer to as ‘an actor’s actor.’ Both my husband, Larry Luckinbill, and I had enormous respect for him and his body of work. He was the real deal.”

Said voice actor Bob Bergen (the voice of Porky Pig): “I had the pleasure of first meeting Mr. Asner in the late ’70s as we were both invited to a mutual friend’s house to break the Yom Kippur fast. I was about 15 or so and we had an amazing conversation on the craft of acting, the actor’s commitment, and how ‘no’ is the most empowering word in an actor’s vocabulary. I got to work with him a few times on cartoons, most memorably on Spider-Man: The Animated Series. Watching Asner play J. Jonah Jameson was a master class in acting. He happened to sound like Lou Grant, but Asner brought layer and character that was pure Jameson. Although I got to work on the film Up, we never had recording sessions together. But I was later able to get some chat time with him to discuss his charming performance in this film. A great life and career!”

Asner received three of his record seven Emmy Awards (in 1971, ’72 and ’75) for playing the producer of the WJM-TV evening news on CBS’ The Mary Tyler Moore Show, then reeled in two more trophies (1978, ’80) after his out-of-work character was hired as city editor of the Los Angeles Tribune newspaper on CBS’ Lou Grant. Asner also received Emmys for his performances on two renowned ABC miniseries: 1976’s Rich Man, Poor Man, in which he played an embittered German immigrant, and 1977’s Roots, as the sea captain who brought Kunta Kinte to America.

He then attracted a new generation of fans when he voiced Carl Fredricksen, a 78-year-old widower who ties thousands of balloons to his house to fulfill a dream of seeing South America, in the Oscar best picture nominee Up (2009).

Read more tributes to Asner below.

Making my 1st film, Roger & Me, I was broke so I wrote to some famous people to ask for help. 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 pic.twitter.com/AuGCNlyNnC

— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) August 29, 2021

Loved Ed Asner. RIP

— marc maron (@marcmaron) August 29, 2021

Thanks, Ed Asner, for a lifetime of great work.

— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) August 29, 2021

Ed Asner was a fine man and a great actor. He was tough in the ways that count and suffered no fools. I acted with him just once and knew how lucky I was to do so. A hero. Rest in peace, Ed.

— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) August 29, 2021

.@TheSimpsons RIP Ed Asner..it was such a pleasure to hear him laugh. pic.twitter.com/AskbjeAy4b

— Al Jean (@AlJean) August 29, 2021

RIP Ed Asner, 91.
What an actor. Loved him as Lou Grant. pic.twitter.com/elBnK1iBXw

— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 29, 2021

Ed Asner, a total mensch. RIP, dear man.

— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) August 29, 2021

Had the privilege of locking eyes with #EdAsner on Studio 60 and it meant a lot to me because I grew up loving him and he was one of those rare actors who just shot straight. He couldn’t help it. Rest In Peace, sir. Well done.

— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) August 29, 2021

Oh this hurts. 💔💔💔💔💔🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹 Rest In Peace Ed.
Not only an iconic award winning actor but a humanitarian and someone who I worked closely with to support #Autism families. Just crushing. #EdAsner pic.twitter.com/9wUwYZxQkJ

— Holly Robinson Peete 💃🏾♍️ (@hollyrpeete) August 29, 2021

Ed Asner was an American treasure. No one could capture that quintessential gruff kindness the way he could. Deeply saddened by his passing. https://t.co/53yMfCoh6L

— Steven DeKnight (@stevendeknight) August 29, 2021

So sorry to learn of Ed Asner’s passing. I grew up watching Ed as Lou Grant, loved him as the voice of Carl Fredrickson in #Up and thought he was the best Santa the screen has ever seen in #Elf#RIPEdAsner https://t.co/MipAAd9zij

— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) August 29, 2021

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.

— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 29, 2021

Deeply sad re the passing of wonderful actor & former SAG president, Ed Asner.
We will miss his charming, pretend-gruff presence at all our board meetings and events.
He was an involved and passionate union stalwart his entire career & a deeply wonderful human#RIPEdAsner pic.twitter.com/tXyuQUwc9b

— Lisa Ann #VoteNoOnRecallCA Walter (@LisaAnnWalter) August 29, 2021

Heartbroken to have to say goodbye to legend and friend Ed Asner. He was always so kind to me and brought so much joy to this world. Sending love to @masner, friends and family. 💔 https://t.co/l4yDtLf7Hz

— Randy Rainbow (@RandyRainbow) August 29, 2021

What a GIFT to have had a friend like you, Ed Asner🙏🏾🕊This was at the New Horizons gala in 2017 where we were both honored. Ed was one of the most amazing #autism advocates a fearless & amazing grandfather who fought for so many. @RodneyPeete9 & I will MISS YOU TERRIBLY 💔😢 pic.twitter.com/S8XDeYdSPg

— Holly Robinson Peete 💃🏾♍️ (@hollyrpeete) August 29, 2021

I had the great honor to know all of these humans. Today the circle is full and I feel saddened but blessed. #RIPEdAsner #blessed #ValerieHarper #ClorisLeachman #TedKnight #GavinMacLeod #MaryTylerMoore #MaryTylerMooreShow pic.twitter.com/xzMuMwG3ll

— Joely Fisher (@MsJoelyFisher) August 29, 2021

And he had a hell of a poker face. Oh man, this one hurts. He promised to protect us with his life..and he did. #RIP🙏🏻 @TheOnlyEdAsner @MembershipFirst @HamillHimself @MatthewModine @Frances_Fisher @TheDaveJolliffe @LisaAnnWalter @SeanAstin pic.twitter.com/aNyuwbERWu

— Joely Fisher (@MsJoelyFisher) August 29, 2021

Darn it. He was the best of us. TRULY a great man.
Please support the Ed Asner Family Center and Ed’s legacy of good works. pic.twitter.com/IM8YBJxjSE

— Clancy Brown (@RealClancyBrown) August 29, 2021

Lou Grant was one of those iconic characters who will always be part of our nation’s identity. And so will Ed Asner. pic.twitter.com/aLcMF2PxSA

— Al Franken (@alfranken) August 29, 2021

I had the honor to witness Ed’s generosity and compassion first hand. He was one of a kind and will be sorely missed. RIP Ed Asner. @EdAsnerCenter pic.twitter.com/EbNNjoxFnC

— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) August 29, 2021

My friend Ed Asner was everything I’ve always wanted to be. Actor, author, activist, warm, lovable, gruff, lefty, patriot and a great father. Every member of SAG owes Ed Asner so much. Please keep supporting ⁦@EdAsnerCenter⁩ pic.twitter.com/gF9pYnvq7P

— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) August 29, 2021

Ed Asner was a great friend of The Muppets. Few have ever been as funny, talented, and kind as he was. We will miss him dearly.

— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) August 29, 2021

We just lost a great one. Ed Asner. Seven time Emmy winner—Lou Grant to the star of “UP,” Ed always wanted to be part of things that mattered. Cant believe he was just a guest on my podcast August 16. Deepest condolences to his family that he loved so much. pic.twitter.com/R9ryl7De2G

— bob saget (@bobsaget) August 29, 2021

Heard the great #EdAsner has passed away.
One of the greats in show bizz history.
Worked all the way till the end.
In fact he did a reading with my bro Daniel just weeks ago.

Thanks for all you taught us acting, activism & autism.

Please make a donation to the @EdAsnerCenter ♥️ pic.twitter.com/bvlHYebnVV

— Billy Baldwin (@BillyBaldwin) August 29, 2021

Sitting across from Ed in a wonderful friendly game at Norby Walters’ home. He was the sweetest man and it was an honor to know him. Rest In Peace, sir. #EdAsner pic.twitter.com/2dl9ShUAfZ

— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) August 29, 2021

ED ASNER. I am devastated. #RIP

— Rex Lee (@RexLee_) August 29, 2021

Had the privilege of locking eyes with #EdAsner on Studio 60 and it meant a lot to me because I grew up loving him and he was one of those rare actors who just shot straight. He couldn’t help it. Rest In Peace, sir. Well done.

— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) August 29, 2021

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