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Edward "Ed" Asner (sometimes known as Eddie Asner) was an American actor best known for his role as Carl Fredricksen in the animated adventure film Up.


Asner was born on November 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents, Lizzie and David Asner, were both Russian Jews; they ran a second-hand shop. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family. Asner attended Wyandotte High School in nearby Kansas City, Kansas, and later the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, from which he graduated. He worked on the assembly line for the car company General Motors. Later, Asner served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps and appeared in plays that toured Army camps in Europe.

Following his military service, Asner joined the Playwrights Theatre Company in Chicago, but left for New York City, New York. Members of that company later regrouped as the Compass Players in the mid-1950s. Asner made guest appearances with the successor to Compass, The Second City, and is considered to be part of The Second City extended family. In New York City, Asner portrayed Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in the Broadway revival of Threepenny Opera. He also started his acting career with roles in television. There were two standout performances he made on television: Detective Sgt. Thomas Siroleo in a 1963 episode of The Outer Limits, and Ex-Premiere Brynov in a 1965 episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Since those roles, Asner rised to fame with his many other performances in his career. He is primarily known for his Emmy Award-winning role as Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s. The character appeared on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama. In 2009, he provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in the Pixar-produced, award-winning animated film Up. In early 2011, he returned to TV as butcher Hank Greziak in Working Class, the first original sitcom on CMT. He starred in the Canadian TV series Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays, on CBC Television, and has also appeared in an episode of the 2013 TV series The Glades.

From 1981 to 1985, Asner served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, in which capacity he opposed U.S. policy in Central America. He worked closely with the Alliance for Survival and played a prominent role in the 1980 SAG strike. He has also been active in a variety of other causes, such as the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal and the movement to establish single-payer health care in California, California One Care, for which he created a TV ad. He also endorsed Barack Obama during the U.S. presidential election of 2008, and also Democratic candidate Marcy Winograd in the 2011 California 36th Congressional district special election.

In the peak of his career, Asner's show Lou Grant was canceled in 1982, an action that later became the subject of much controversy. The show had high ratings, the level of which should have justified its ongoing presence in prime-time. However, the CBS television network declined to renew it. Asner consistently claimed that his political views, as well as the publicity surrounding them, were the actual causes for the show's cancellation. In 2012, Asner came under fire from conservatives for narrating an animation promotional video for the California Federation of Teachers, which was titled Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale. He is also a believer in 9/11 conspiracy theories.

On August 29, 2021, in Los Angeles, California, at 91 years of age, Asner passed away.

On Criminal Minds[]

Asner portrayed Roy Brooks, the father of Jessica Brooks and the late Haley Brooks, and former father-in-law to SSA Aaron Hotchner, in the Season Ten episode "A Place at the Table".


For a full filmography, see here.