Freakazoid has lost his Cosgrove
August 29, 2021 12:26 PM   Subscribe

 
This rather extensive article says much more than I could have said.
posted by hippybear at 12:27 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


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posted by infini at 12:27 PM on August 29, 2021


"Hey Freakazoid, do you want to go to the carnival?"

"WOULD I?!"

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posted by Kitteh at 12:33 PM on August 29, 2021 [8 favorites]


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My Dad wrote screenplays for him for several years. He never had a bad word to say about him, which is more than I can say for Bill Cosby.
posted by Alensin at 12:34 PM on August 29, 2021 [15 favorites]


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posted by valkane at 12:35 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by riruro at 12:38 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by sammyo at 12:39 PM on August 29, 2021


What a bummer

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posted by Windopaene at 12:42 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


He gave us this beautiful treasure that never fails to make me smile.

Rip to a legend.
posted by Ferreous at 12:48 PM on August 29, 2021 [9 favorites]


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posted by Faint of Butt at 12:54 PM on August 29, 2021




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posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 1:14 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by detachd at 1:33 PM on August 29, 2021


I was just watching him in the new season of Grace and Frankie yesterday. He looked pretty frail but still turned in a good performance.

Lou Grant was one of my formative influences about journalistic ideals when I started working on newspapers, first in high school and later in college while I was in the journalism track, and eventually local underground papers. I always wanted a mentor or colleague who was crotchety but fair and amusingly grumpy. No one ever came close.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:42 PM on August 29, 2021 [8 favorites]


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posted by young_simba at 1:52 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by annsunny at 1:57 PM on August 29, 2021


Loved Ed Asner. Loved the Lou Grant show especially. But are we just going to pretend he wasn’t a supporter of 9/11 conspiracy theories? There’s much to love about the guy, but that seems at least worth a mention in the obits.
posted by FencingGal at 2:06 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


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posted by marimeko at 2:15 PM on August 29, 2021


Loved Ed Asner. His scenes with Mary Tyler Moore are pure gold. ("I HATE spunk!")
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 2:23 PM on August 29, 2021 [7 favorites]


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posted by jzb at 2:23 PM on August 29, 2021


My wife and I have been watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show for the first time, and this sequence, from Season 3, with Ted Knight, made me laugh so hard. Ed Asner had a comic seriousness with a soft heart that was such a grounding force in that show.
posted by RubixsQube at 2:30 PM on August 29, 2021 [6 favorites]


Fine actor; political firebrand/DSA member Asner may have enjoyed an even longer career: Powell's Books blog, 2017, to Asner: "Describe your latest book."

Asner: My book, The Grouchy Historian, is my attempt to rescue the U.S. Constitution from right-wing hypocrites and nutjobs. I got tired of the Right acting not only like it owns the Constitution, but wrote the damn thing as well. So — pissed off at right-wing lies (by the way, my original title was The Pissed-Off Historian, but Simon & Schuster thought better of it), misrepresentations, and outright horseshit, I decided to strike back. After all, if the Right could be wrong about climate change, health care, and the corporate tax rate, it was probably wrong about the Constitution.

So I did my homework. I read the Constitution and the Amendments; perused The Federalist Papers and the notes Madison took during the Constitutional Convention; surveyed the lives of the Founders and Framers; looked over the Supreme Court opinions of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas; and even dipped into Ted Cruz’s autobiography, A Time for Truth, a faith-based romance novel in which the hero falls in love with himself at an early age.

The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs, by Ed Asner with Ed Weinberger, Kirkus Reviews
Son of a Junkman: My Life from the West Bottoms of Kansas City to the Bright Lights of Hollywood, Ed Asner with Samuel Warren Joseph & Matthew Seymour
Trump’s Anti-Protest Authoritarianism Has Echoes of Venezuela, Ed Asner writing at The Daily Beast, June 10, 2020

Yitzhak Edward Asner vocally opposes the war in Iraq, a position that has probably angered some fans of the 76-year-old actor. But that's nothing new for Asner, whose political activism, years earlier, may have cost him the best acting job he ever had -- the role of journalist Lou Grant in two separate award-winning television series. (Outspoken Asner's Activism is No Act, The Jewish Journal, Dec. 25, 2008) (At the time of publication, Asner was the only actor to receive an Emmy for playing the same character on two different television series; since 2015, he shares that distinction with Uzo Aduba.)

In The Hollywood Reporter interview, earlier this month: You’ve been engaged in the back-and-forth about SAG-AFTRA members who have lost their health coverage during the pandemic, signing on to a lawsuit about it.
Asner: I gave them my name and they used it prominently and pursued the suit. I have always been a member of Membership First, which is the rebel group of SAG, and I feel that we have a point, that the suit is very warranted.

Ed Asner, an imperfect person, (on preview: hey there, FencingGal) followed his conscience, and worked toward justice and equality. May his memory be a blessing.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:33 PM on August 29, 2021 [25 favorites]


Lou: Hey, wait a minute. I have a question. Do you call one pom-pom a pom and the two of them pom-poms?
Mary: No. One is a pom-pom.
Lou: Then why aren’t the two of them called pom-pom-pom-poms?
posted by NedKoppel at 2:39 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


My wife reached out to him in 2005 to ask for his endorsement of an anti-war demo. She remembers him as grumpy but enthusiastic about giving his endorsement and being on the correct side of history. That’s good enough for me.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:40 PM on August 29, 2021 [10 favorites]


Lou: Kid, you got spunk.
Mary: Thanks.
Lou: I hate spunk!
posted by SPrintF at 2:41 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


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posted by achrise at 3:35 PM on August 29, 2021


Pigs are smarter than bears, but they can’t ride motorcycles.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:47 PM on August 29, 2021 [5 favorites]


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posted by photo guy at 4:09 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by jquinby at 4:23 PM on August 29, 2021


So much quality TV from his shows. It wasn't the Idiot Box when he was on.
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posted by Bee'sWing at 4:28 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


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posted by Silvery Fish at 4:36 PM on August 29, 2021


91 is a good age to reach, but I would have liked to have him around longer. As a geezer, I got to watch Lou Grant; it was a really good tv show. He has done a lot of good work; I'll miss him. He really defined crusty.

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posted by theora55 at 4:37 PM on August 29, 2021 [5 favorites]


So, if I'm reading this correctly, his 9/11 conspiracy theories were of the "there were foreign government-aligned actors who helped pay for and coordinate" and not "jet fuel can't melt steel"? Are those comparable?
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 4:53 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


I grew up with MTM and Lou Grant and was really stoked to learn years ago of his leftyness. He seemed grumpy in the way that I like to be grumpy, vs. Mel Sharples for instance. A "love-grump," maybe.

Funny thing about MTM+LG: as far as I've been able to find, MTM is the only (US) TV show whose spinoff is a different genre than its parent, from sitcom to drama.

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posted by rhizome at 5:01 PM on August 29, 2021 [8 favorites]


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posted by gauche at 5:14 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by bryon at 5:38 PM on August 29, 2021


He did a lot of voicework later in his career. I'm not sure anyone else has done the voice for Granny Goodness, and I don't think I can accept anyone else in the role.

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(And thank you for the recommendations and pointer to the interview, Iris Gambol!)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:18 PM on August 29, 2021


rhizome, maybe M*A*S*H (comedy/drama) ---> Trapper John, M.D. (drama), and AfterMASH (sitcom). (Though I think, maybe because of the time jump, Trapper wound up billing itself as a continuation of the film?) Hill Street Blues (drama) begat Beverly Hills Buntz.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:18 PM on August 29, 2021 [4 favorites]


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posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:45 PM on August 29, 2021


If you can ever find the cassette we have, of him reading Frog and Toad Are Friends, you should buy it immediately. He is wonderful as both.
posted by Windopaene at 6:47 PM on August 29, 2021 [5 favorites]


I saw him in person once, when he gave to give a talk at my university. Didn’t stay to try to meet him afterwards because the line was so long and I had another event to go to. He was very funny and smart. He left behind a body of work any actor could be proud of.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:11 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


as far as I've been able to find, MTM is the only (US) TV show whose spinoff is a different genre than its parent, from sitcom to drama.

Not precisely a clear-cut spinoff situation, but my understanding is The Practice (drama), Boston Legal (comedy-drama), Ally McBeal (comedy-drama) and its re-edited 30 minute repackaging Ally (sitcom) all share a continuity. And The Brady Bunch begat a couple of subsequent spinoff/revivals like The Bradys with a more dramatic focus. (Note that save for a few episodes of The Brady Bunch when I was a kid, I have never seen any of the shows in this paragraph.)
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:26 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


He did his part.

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posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:43 PM on August 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


DeepSeaHaggis, 10 years ago Asner narrated a short video, "Solving the Mystery of WTC 7" (alt link at dailymotion; Amazon listing), for the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth group (founded by Richard Gage), which held that the 47-storey third tower ("Tower 7") collapsed due to controlled demolition (BBC 2008 article link with Gage quotes, argument).

As I linked upthread, Asner worked with Autism Speaks for years. His eldest son, Matt, served as the organization's exec director in Southern California; in 2016, Matt departed Autism Speaks for the Autism Society Of America [from that linked interview with The Art of Autism, Matt Asner on ASA's policies: Autistic people are on ASA’s board. They hire people on the autism spectrum regularly. It is incredibly important to be inclusive. Their commitment to hiring people on the spectrum stands on its own and it is something I am very proud to be a part of. (Editor’s note: They also have an advisory board of autistic people)]; 2017 Ed Asner ASA fundraising letter; warning, in this 2017 interview with The Tennessean, a well-intentioned Asner's talking about his autistic loved ones, stumping for the first AutFest Film Festival, and using language/expressing viewpoints which are outdated and offensive; in 2018, the Asner family founded the The Ed Asner Family Center, "a one-stop shop for neurodivergent individuals and their families."

Ed Asner's views and advocacy w/r/t autism may have evolved in recent years? I don't know if any 9/11-related beliefs changed since he provided that video narration.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:43 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


I am suddenly terrified for Brian Blessed.
posted by aramaic at 7:43 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


He's one of those people who you can't imagine being young. So I looked up early photos of him; here he is in his high school yearbook.

And I still can't imagine him young.

There were these guys when I was growing up, guys who were on shows since I was a baby, but who were always old. Ernest Borgnine. Abe Vigoda. Ed Asner. And they were immortal. They were my touchstones for how to age, if not gracefully, then with character and consideration and strength. They made aging seem interesting, they made it seem worth it.

I'm very sad they're gone.
posted by MrVisible at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2021 [16 favorites]


Speaking of Abe Vigoda, if we're floating The Practice (a drama) and its spinoff Boston Legal (a comedy-drama) as 'different genres' then the funny-yet-spiny Barney Miller and its tender Fish spawn count.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:52 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


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posted by Winnie the Proust at 8:05 PM on August 29, 2021


AfterMASH? The McBealiverse?! Ed would never stand for this nonsense. I mean real spinoffs, not that Mork cheese!

It's hard to find much information, but that Frog and Toad narrated by Asner is, as far as I can tell, only on that 1976 cassette. Everything else audio, including the digital stuff, seems to be by the author. However, I did find this narrational curiosity.
posted by rhizome at 8:15 PM on August 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


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posted by youknowwhatpart at 9:08 PM on August 29, 2021


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posted by Lyme Drop at 9:45 PM on August 29, 2021


I think we may still have the cassette. Whether it will still play is questionable...

As far as the Autism/9-11 stuff.

We contain multitudes. So did he. The world is a worse place with Santa Claus being dead...

"We must stop eating, we will soon be sick!"
"Yes said Toad, reaching for a cookie..."
posted by Windopaene at 10:20 PM on August 29, 2021


Thank you, Iris, that was the exact clarification I was hoping for. His linked-to letter upthread was more conspiracy-adjacent than conspiratorial.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 10:27 PM on August 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


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posted by Melismata at 10:29 PM on August 29, 2021


Also, did Ed Asner do the game loading screens for Civilization because the introduction to that Building 7 video...
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 10:30 PM on August 29, 2021


To me, there is not a more loveable curmudgeon like character than Lou Grant on MTM.

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posted by AugustWest at 12:40 AM on August 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


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posted by Gelatin at 6:40 AM on August 30, 2021


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posted by kaymac at 6:40 AM on August 30, 2021


I just learned that Asner and I both graduated from Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, KS. I loved both MTM and Lou Grant.

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posted by shoesietart at 7:18 AM on August 30, 2021 [2 favorites]


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posted by filtergik at 7:58 AM on August 30, 2021


Michael Moore on Twitter:

Making my 1st film, Roger & Me, I was broke so I wrote to some famous people to ask for help. Only one responded: Ed Asner. “I don’t know you, kid, but here’s 500 bucks” said the note attached to the check. “Sounds like it’ll be a great film. I was an autoworker once.” R.I.P. Ed

posted by ZaphodB at 8:00 AM on August 30, 2021 [11 favorites]


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posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 8:58 AM on August 30, 2021


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posted by pt68 at 9:57 AM on August 30, 2021


I saw him on celebrity Jeopardy once, and they went into the commercial break with him in last place and near $0 on the board. "I just want everyone to know I didn't know how the buzzer worked, but I've figured it out now," he said. I chuckled this bit of self-effacing humor.

Damn if he didn't just about run the board when they came back from break.


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posted by mark k at 10:18 AM on August 30, 2021 [3 favorites]


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posted by adekllny at 11:05 AM on August 30, 2021


He responded to a tweet of mine once complimenting him for looking so much like my late, beloved dad. I swooned. RIP Mr. Asner!
posted by tristeza at 1:19 PM on August 30, 2021 [2 favorites]


The Gathering was a family-watch Christmas staple for a bunch of years. Probably one of the first things we taped off the TV once we got a VCR. One of the lighter bits being Asner reciting "Christmas in the Workhouse", with Lawrence Pressman dinging the punch bowl to 'bleep' the bad words.

And it was cool seeing him as Charlie in "Hard Rain".
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 2:18 PM on August 30, 2021


as far as I've been able to find, MTM is the only (US) TV show whose spinoff is a different genre than its parent, from sitcom to drama.


Further reflection brings up that Star Trek is a whole bunch of dramas and currently has an animated comedy on the air, a double shifting of genre.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:37 PM on August 30, 2021


Stop trying to kill me!
posted by rhizome at 8:11 PM on August 30, 2021


As you wish, rhizome.

Hollywood mourns Ed Asner with touching tributes (Entertainment Weekly) Social media was flooded on Sunday with condolences from Asner's peers, costars, and admirers (surprises: Peter Frampton & Tai Babilonia!)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:07 PM on August 30, 2021 [1 favorite]


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posted by gt2 at 10:33 PM on August 30, 2021


He went Up.

🎈
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posted by mcbeth at 7:21 AM on September 1, 2021


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