7-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner, 91, has passed away

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Ed Asner, a seven-time Emmy winner, died on Sunday at the age of 91, according to his family. “We are sorry to say that our beloved patriarch passed away this morning, peacefully. Words cannot express the sadness we feel,” his family wrote on the actor’s Twitter account.

“With a kiss on your head – Goodnight dad. We love you.” Asner died of natural causes, according to his publicist. Asner rose to prominence as newsroom supervisor Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a classic sitcom that aired from 1970 to 1977, and later on a spin-off series based on his role.

He earned three of his seven Emmys for portraying the character, and he is one of only two actors to win an Emmy for both a comedy and drama part on distinct shows. With his role of widower Carl Fredericksen in the 2009 animated film Up, which received an Academy Award nomination for best picture, Asner gained a new generation of fans. Asner plays a crusty elderly man in the film who connects thousands of balloons to his house and flies it to South America to fulfil his late wife’s dream for adventure. In the city of Kansas City, Missouri, Edward Asner was born on November 15, 1929. He worked on his high school newspaper and played football as the youngest of five children, foreshadowing his role as an editor on television. He worked on an auto-assembly line as an adult, however he stated in a 1973 interview that he wished to travel to South America or Alaska, foreshadowing a future role. After that, he joined the army before pursuing a career in acting.

Before landing his big break with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, he appeared in a number of off-Broadway plays, television shows, and films. He was a liberal activist who marched in support of labor unions and against capital punishment. He was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms. Gavin MacLeod, Asner’s friend and Mary Tyler Moore co-star, died in May. On Twitter, Asner expressed his sorrow.

“My heart is broken. Gavin was my brother, my partner in crime (and food) and my comic conspirator,” he wrote.

“I will see you in a bit Gavin. Tell the gang I will see them in a bit. Betty! It’s just you and me now,” he added, referring to legendary actress Betty White, who is currently the only living alum of the show.