Ed Asner – The Voice of Generations
Edward "Ed" Asner was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a family of Russian-born Jewish immigrants, and was raised in an Orthodox Jewish environment. Despite earning a degree from University of Chicago, he started his career as a simple worker - on the assembly line for General Motors, and later served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps. It was in the Army, where his acting and voice talents began to shine: he appeared in plays with a troupe that toured Army camps in Europe.
Returning to America and settling in New York City, Asner played in the Broadway revival of Threepenny Opera, and began to make inroads as a television actor. The breakthrough came with the roles of Detective Sgt. Thomas Siroleo in the 1963 series The Outer Limits, and of Ex-Premiere Brynov in the 1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Another important role, that of captain Davies from the ABC miniseries Roots, earned him his first Emmy Award.
Still, nowadays he is more known for his role of Lou Grand from a cult TV series of the same name; he played the same character in another, much lighter, series, earning Emmy Awards for both and becoming the first actor to be recognized for portrayal of one and the same character in drama and a comedy.
Asner has also had an extensive voice acting career. In 2009, he starred as the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's blockbuster animated film Up. And three years later Asner came under fire from conservatives for narrating an animated propaganda video Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale.
Asner has won more Emmy Awards for performing than any other male actor (seven, including five for the role of Lou Grant), and in 1996 was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.
He served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, in which capacity during the 1980s he opposed US policy in Central America. It is said that it was because of his left-leaning political views that he had one of his most successful television series cancelled in late 80s. He is also one of the so called Thruthers, calling for an independent investigation of the "true" circumstances of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Asner was married twice (to Nancy Sykes from 1959 until 1988 and to producer Cindy Gilmore from 1998 to 2007) and has four children.
In 2013 there was an incident with him losing orientation during a public speech and being hospitalized, which led to speculations about his imminent death. Soon afterwards he tweeted a statement with a line borrowed from Mark Twain: "Reports of my imminent demise are greatly exaggerated"!
Edward Asner Biography (1929-) - filmreference.com
Edward Asner - 2001 Life Achievement Recipient - Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Wayback Machine - web.archive.org
Asner, Ed (April 26, 2004). "A letter to the Peace and Justice movement from Ed Asner". 911 Visibility Project.