Edward Asner

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the first part of his four-hour Archive interview, Ed Asner describes his start as an actor in theater and in live television. He talks about his appearances in '60s television series Naked City, Route 66, and The Defenders, his appearance as a regular on the political drama Slattery's People, and his roles in television movies. He discusses the portrayal of his most memorable role, that of "Lou Grant," on the sitcom, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its dramatic spin-off, Lou Grant. He speaks of other notable television appearances in the miniseries Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man; the telefilms The Life and Assassination of the Kingfish and The Gathering; and the series The Trials of Rosie O'Neill. He also talks of his political activism in the 1980s and his role as Screen Actors Guild President from 1981-85. In a separate 90 minute follow-up Archive interview 11 years later, Asner discusses his roles in The Outer Limits and The Defenders. He elaborates on his time as "Lou Grant" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, discussing specific episodes in depth. He speaks of guest shots on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and CSI: New York, and his late career revival brought about by the feature films "Elf" and "Up". Morrie Gelman conducted the first part of the interview on April 7, 1999 in North Hollywood, CA, and Karen Herman conducted the second on June 2, 2010 at Asner's home in Valley Village, CA.

"How do I keep from getting panicky? You concentrate on the basics, you concentrate on being as perfect as you can on the lines. You work on your breath control. You keep telling yourself 'stop being a schmuck, stop being a schmuck.' And you concentrate, concentrate, concentrate. Even this will not save you, but you've got to rely on the basics." 

Highlights
Ed Asner on acting in the miniseries Roots
02:48
Ed Asner on "Lou Grant"'s "I hate spunk!" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:22
Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show  episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on how his character of "Lou Grant" changed over the course of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:34
Ed Asner on advice to aspiring actors
02:25
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on listening to news on radio
14:52
On growing up Jewish; on attending college
14:35

Chapter 2

On acting on radio; on various early jobs
12:21
On early acting roles and his stint with the United Auto Workers Union; on his time in the Army; on acting with the Playwrights Theater Club
16:10

Chapter 3

On moving to New York; on early acting jobs; on his theater experiences
16:27
On appearing in the series Decoy; on acting in Omnibus, Naked City and Route 66; on acting on Broadway
12:41

Chapter 4

On moving to Los Angeles; on being a character actor; on acting in the series Slattery's People
16:19
On his early politics; on being cast in The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on shooting the pilot for The Mary Tyler Moore Show
11:45

Chapter 5

On his character "Lou Grant" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on the set of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on the show's classic episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
17:50
On the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; on acting in the miniseries Roots; on acting in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man
10:21

Chapter 6

On comedy verses drama; on acting in the made-for-television movie The Gathering; on making the transition from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Lou Grant; on casting the show
14:53
On the creative team of Lou Grant; on critical and popular reaction to Lou Grant; on the end of Lou Grant and his stint as the head of SAG
13:27

Chapter 7

On the cancellation of Lou Grant and his personal politics
17:40
On various post-Lou Grant projects; on how situation comedies have changed
10:43

Chapter 8

On then-current projects; on slow periods in his career; on what makes a successful show and advice to actors; on career achievements, actors and politics and the then-current state of television
15:50
On his mentors and how he'd like to be remembered; on people he's worked with in his career
02:43

Chapter 9

On acting on The Outer Limits; on acting on The Defenders; on working with Elvis Presley
13:48
On the difference between television acting and movie acting; on various The Mary Tyler Moore Show episodes
15:50
On how The Mary Tyler Moore Show actors worked; on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
11:57
On the character of "Lou Grant"; on acting in The Closer and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
16:42

Chapter 10

On acting on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip ; on acting in the made-for-television movie The Christmas Card; on then-current projects
19:31
On his celebrity; on advice to aspiring actors; on his legacy
05:37
Shows

CSI: NY

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Ed Asner on acting on CSI: New York
03:43

Defenders, The

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Ed Asner on acting on an episode of The Defenders
07:00

Gathering, The

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Ed Asner on acting in the made-for-television movie The Gathering
03:52

Hearts Afire

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Ed Asner on various projects he acted in post-Lou Grant
08:52

Irwin Shaw's Rich Man, Poor Man

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Ed Asner on acting in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man
05:43

Lou Grant

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Ed Asner on how the series Lou Grant came to be
01:49
Ed Asner on the difficulty of making the transition from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to Lou Grant
02:33
Ed Asner on the subject matter in Lou Grant
00:44
Ed Asner on casting Lou Grant
02:58
Ed Asner on the Lou Grant creative team
01:32
Ed Asner on critical and popular response to Lou Grant
02:30
Ed Asner on favorite Lou Grant episodes
01:22
Ed Asner on being identified with Lou Grant and his fame
04:07
Ed Asner on the cancellation of Lou Grant and his stint as President of the Screen Actor's Guild
03:56
Ed Asner on the cancellation of Lou Grant and his politics
17:40

Mad About You

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Ed Asner on various projects he acted in post-Lou Grant
08:52

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The

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Ed Asner on being cast in The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:49
Ed Asner on the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:07
Ed Asner on his character "Lou Grant" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:56
Ed Asner on the family atmosphere on the set of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:07
Ed Asner on how his character "Lou Grant" changed over the course of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:34
Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on the end of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:59
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore episode "Thoroughly Un-millitant Mary"
01:18
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Lou's Place"
01:32
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "The Lou and Edie Story"
02:44
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Once I Had a Secret Love"
04:08
Ed Asner on how the actors of The Mary Tyler Moore Show worked
05:21
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites The Dust"
06:36
Ed Asner on playing "Lou Grant" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
09:48

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The: "Chuckles Bites the Dust"

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Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites The Dust"
06:36

Mary Tyler Moore Show, The: "Lou Dates Mary"

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Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Lou Dates Mary"
03:26

Naked City

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Ed Asner on acting in Naked City and Route 66
03:25

Omnibus

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Ed Asner on acting in the Omnibus episode "Capital Punishment"
01:51

Outer Limits, The (1963-65)

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Ed Asner on acting on an episode of The Outer Limits
03:19

Roots

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Ed Asner on acting in the miniseries Roots
02:48

Roseanne

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Ed Asner on various projects he acted in post-Lou Grant
08:52

Route 66

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Ed Asner on acting in Naked City and Route 66
03:25

Slattery's People

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Ed Asner on acting in Slattery's People
05:01

Sports Night

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Ed Asner on how situation comedies have changed
01:51

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

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Ed Asner on acting on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
01:53
Ed Asner on acting on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
03:33

Studio One

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Ed Asner on acting in the Studio One episode "The Night America Trembled"
02:03

Trials of Rosie O'Neill, The

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Ed Asner on various projects he acted in post-Lou Grant
08:52
Topics

Anthology Drama

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Ed Asner on acting in the Studio One episode "The Night America Trembled"
02:03

Characters & Catchphrases

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Ed Asner on "Lou Grant"'s "I hate spunk!" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:22
Ed Asner on his character "Lou Grant" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:56

Classic TV series episodes

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Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23

Comedy

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Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show  episode "Chuckles Bites The Dust"
06:36

Fame & Celebrity

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Ed Asner on being identified with Lou Grant and his fame
04:07
Ed Asner on his celebrity
03:12

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Ed Asner on "Lou Grant"'s "I hate spunk!" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:22
Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show  episode "Chuckles Bites The Dust"
06:36

Pop Culture

View Topic
Ed Asner on "Lou Grant"'s "I hate spunk!" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:22
Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on his character "Lou Grant" from The Mary Tyler Moore Show
03:56
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show  episode "Chuckles Bites The Dust"
06:36

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Ed Asner on acting in the Studio One episode "The Night America Trembled"
02:03

Television Industry

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Ed Asner on being identified with Lou Grant and his fame
04:07
Ed Asner on his celebrity
03:12

We Laughed

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Ed Asner on the classic The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust"
04:23
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show  episode "Chuckles Bites The Dust"
06:36
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Ed Asner on the cancellation of Lou Grant and his stint as President of the Screen Actor's Guild
03:56
Ed Asner on his advice to aspiring actors
01:15
Ed Asner on actors as citizens
04:34
Ed Asner on advice to aspiring actors
02:25

Performers

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Ed Asner on his advice to aspiring actors
01:15
Ed Asner on actors as citizens
04:34
Ed Asner on advice to aspiring actors
02:25
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Ed Asner on acting in the Studio One episode "The Night America Trembled"
02:03

Comedy Series

View Genre
Ed Asner on playing "Lou Grant" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
08:56
Ed Asner on playing "Lou Grant" on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
19:49
Ed Asner on playing "Lou Grant" in The Mary Tyler Moore Show
34:54

Drama Series

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Ed Asner on acting as Lou Grant in the series Lou Grant
23:00

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Ed Asner on acting in the miniseries Roots
02:48
Ed Asner on acting in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man
05:43
People

Harve Bennett

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Ed Asner on acting in the miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man
05:43

James L. Brooks

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Ed Asner on the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:07
Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - James L. Brooks
09:16

Carol Burnett

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Carol Burnett
09:16

Allan Burns

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Ed Asner on the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:07
Ed Asner on the Lou Grant creative team
01:32
Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Allan Burns
09:16

LeVar Burton

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - LeVar Burton
09:16

Norman Cousins

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Norman Cousins
09:16

Richard Crenna

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Ed Asner on acting in Slattery's People
05:01
Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Richard Crenna
09:16

Georgia Engel

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Georgia Engel
09:16

Sharon Gless

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Sharon Gless
09:16

Gary David Goldberg

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Gary David Goldberg
09:16

Valerie Harper

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Valerie Harper
09:16
Ed Asner on how the actors of The Mary Tyler Moore Show worked
05:21

Charlton Heston

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Charlton Heston
09:16

Ted Knight

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Ed Asner on how the actors of The Mary Tyler Moore Show worked
05:21

Cloris Leachman

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Cloris Leachman
09:16

Gavin MacLeod

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Gavin MacLeod
09:16

E. G. Marshall

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Ed Asner on acting on an episode of The Defenders
07:00

Mary Tyler Moore

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Mary Tyler Moore
09:16
Ed Asner on how the actors of The Mary Tyler Moore Show worked
05:21

Robert Reed

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Ed Asner on acting on an episode of The Defenders
07:00

Gene Reynolds

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Ed Asner on the Lou Grant creative team
01:32

John Ritter

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - John Ritter
09:16

Jay Sandrich

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Ed Asner on working with director Jay Sandrich on The Mary Tyler Moore Show
01:53

William Shatner

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Ed Asner on acting on an episode of The Defenders
07:00

Dinah Shore

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Dinah Shore
09:16

Linda Bloodworth Thomason

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Linda Bloodworth Thomason
09:16

Grant Tinker

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Ed Asner on the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:07
Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Grant Tinker
09:16

Nancy Walker

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Nancy Walker
09:16

Betty White

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Betty White
09:16
Ed Asner on The Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Once I Had a Secret Love"
04:08

Ethel Winant

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Ed Asner on being cast as "Lou Grant" in The Mary Tyler Moore Show
04:49

David L. Wolper

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - David Wolper
09:16

Robert D. Wood

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Ed Asner on people he's worked with in his career - Robert D. Wood
09:16

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