Remembering Ed Asner … And His Record-Setting Emmy Awards

It’s difficult to think of anyone who hasn’t been touched by a character played by Ed Asner, who died yesterday at the age of 91. Younger kids will know him — his voice, at least — from the funny but heart-wrenching Pixar film Up. Another generation will recognize him as Elf’s Santa Claus. For others the roles that come to mind might be his Emmy-winning performances in two seminal TV miniseries, Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man. But for most people, the role that will come instantly to mind is that of Lou Grant. He played the character for 12 years — seven seasons on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and another five on the dramatic spinoff Lou Grant. In a testament to both the character’s appeal and Asner’s talent, he earned Emmy nominations every single year he played the role, and he won five times (three times in the comedy category, twice in the drama category). The seven Emmy awards he earned for acting represent the most ever for any male actor, an honor in which he took a lot of pride. There are, however, two women who’ve earned eight acting awards: One is Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, New Adventures of Old Christine, and Veep), but the other is a former co-worker of Asner’s, Cloris Leachman. In a bit of one-upmanship with his old friend (who also passed away this year), he once bragged to us about how his seven were more significant than her eight. (Click on the media bar below to hear Ed Asner)

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