Edward Asner, born Eddie Asner and commonly known as Ed Asner, is an American film, television, stage, and voice actor and former president of the Screen Actors Guild, primarily known for his role as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series, Lou Grant. More recently, he provided the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's award-winning animated film, Up.
Asner was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but was raised across the river in the suburban Kansas City, Kansas. His Russian-born parents, Lizzie, a housewife, and Morris David Asner, ran a second-hand shop. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family. Asner attended Wyandotte High School and the University of Chicago. He 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 before members of that company regrouped as the Compass Players in the mid-1950s. He later made guest appearances with the successor to Compass, The Second City, and is considered part of The Second City extended family. In New York, Asner played Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in the acclaimed Broadway revival of Threepenny Opera, and began to make inroads as a television actor.
Before he landed his role with Mary Tyler Moore, Asner guest-starred in such television series as NBC's The Outlaws, in the series finale of CBS's The Reporter, and The Invaders.