Yesterday, Hollywood lost one of its wisest voices with the passing of Ed Asner.
I’ve seen a few news reports about his passing and they, of course, mention his amazing portrayal of Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later in the spin-off series Lou Grant.
Lou Grant was one of TV’smost memorable characters and Asner did something few others have ever done. He created the character twice – once for a comedy and once for a hard journalistic show.
As a fellow native Kansas-Citian, Asner always felt like one of us. In fact, he attended high school in Kansas City with one of my mom’s best friends and the football picture that sat behind his desk on MTM was from his high school playing days.
What I loved more about Edward Asner is he had a humanitarian moral center that never swayed. During the 1980’s, as President of the Screen Actor’s Guild, he was famous for challenging President Reagan’s interventionist approach to foreign policy and what he saw as a domestic policy lacking compassion.
For me, he showed up in my life again the late 1990s when he voiced the part of God in audio versions of the Neale Donald Walsch’s Conversations with God books.
Those books were among my most influential reads in the 90s, but hearing Asner voicing God’s words only made the works that more impactful.
There’s a trite phrase that goes, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” When it comes to Ed Asner, truer words were never spoken.
RIP and thank you for bringing laughter, wisdom, and conscience into all our lives.