Ed Asner (born November 15, 1929 in Kansas City, Kansas) is an American best known for his Emmy-winning role as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and later continued in a spinoff series, Lou Grant. The series was the longest lasting show about newspapers, and one that many professional reporters and editors heralded as realistic.
Edward Asner is also internationally known as the slaver Captain Davies, from the mini-series Roots, who kidnapped Kunta Kinte into bondage. While Asner's character in Roots was highly developed, full of metaphors on tortured ethics and the morality of slavery, biographer Alex Haley would later admit he had no idea who the actual Captain was who had commanded the historic slaver which had kidnapped his ancestor.
Asner has also had an extensive voice acting career. He provided the voices for J. Jonah Jameson on the 1990s animated television series Spider-Man, Hudson on Gargoyles, Jabba the Hutt on the radio version of Star Wars, Master Vrook from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel, Roland Daggett on Batman: The Animated Series, and Cosgrove on Freakazoid.
A vocal leftist, Asner served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, where he controversially opposed US policy in Central America. He has also been active in a variety of other causes, such as the movement to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and is a prominent member of the Democratic Socialists of America. His political position may also have motivated him to play the voice of the pig-like villain Hoggish Greedly on the pro-environmental animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers and the voice for the sinister Ed Wuncler in The Boondocks (television series).
He has signed the 911 Truth Statement calling for new investigations of disturbing questions about the 9/11 events, including the failure of US intelligence to act on warnings of upcoming attacks, the breakdown of military air defense, and the nature of the investigations. Asner has also reviewed 9/11 literature and videos, including a recent review for the film 9/11 Guilt: The Proof is in Your Hands.
Asner served as the spokesman for 2004 Racism Watch. In April 2004, he wrote an open letter to "peace and justice leaders" encouraging them to demand "full 9-11 truth" through an organization called the "9-11 Visibility Project." Recently he has appeared in a recurring segment, on Jay Leno's The Tonight Show, entitled "Does this impress Ed Asner".
Asner was treated successfully for prostate cancer some years ago. He has two children: a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Kate.