Hollywood lost another of its most renowned members recently as Ed Asner passed away due to natural causes, leaving behind a legacy that extends beyond his film career. The 91-year-old actor dates back quite a ways when it comes to the business and had a rather interesting life. From working in a steel mill to joining the US military and helping to get several organizations started, Asner was one of those individuals that always appeared to be doing something and trying to help others throughout the length of his career. There’s little to no doubt that he managed to butt heads with several people during the course of his career since his political affiliations and his personal beliefs, like anyone else, sometimes ran up against stiff opposition from others around him, but Ed was the type of guy that would keep pushing forward in order to do what he felt was right and to stand up for his beliefs and those of others. Like several actors from back in his day, he sometimes had to deal with those that took issue with what he believed in.
The show Lou Grant became a controversial moment in his career when the show was canceled without what many felt was a good reason. Ed was said to believe that his left-wing beliefs were a big part of why this happened, though it’s still hard to say what the actual cause was and if this had any validity or not. The point is that Asner stood up for what he believed in and was adamant that no matter what happened, he wouldn’t change. That managed to carry him quite far through his career since no matter what his personal beliefs were his conduct on the screen was almost always entirely professional and didn’t manage to be too heavily influenced by his political leanings. In fact, one could say that a lot of folks get a little too hung up on the idea of which way an actor leans in terms of politics these days.
Sometimes focusing on what an actor can do on the screen is the best way to go about this, since once the cameras are off their personal lives are their own to worry about. Of course, that’s the simplistic version since millions of individuals actually, for some reason, want to know the personal lives and workings of the stars. Ed’s professional career wasn’t always so heavily scrutinized as many people tended to enjoy his work, which is easy to see since he did play several characters that many people still remember and was someone that was quite personable while on screen. As the years passed by Ed’s popularity dimmed just as much as anyone’s since the truth is that as actors tend to age and new actors start to take their place, the memory of the fans does manage to slip now and then and trying to remember everyone that shows up on screen becomes more than a little difficult. But Ed managed to hang onto a very solid career for a long time and it’s more than a little impressive to realize that in the modern-day he was still known by quite a few people thanks to the many roles that he secured in very notable movies and TV shows.
One of the best that might keep him in mind for a long time to come is the holiday movie, Elf, in which he played Santa Claus. Some might think he looked and sounded a little gruffer than a lot of other Santa’s that have been depicted by various actors over the years, but Ed still played a great character that wasn’t the main part of the movie but was still a great amount of support since Buddy, the main character, was so enamored of Santa, having grown up in the North Pole after accidentally crawling into Santa’s gift bag, that Ed’s character couldn’t just be a peripheral extra. Plus, if Santa Claus ever becomes just an extra in a holiday movie it’s kind of awkward. But he played the role to a tee and wasn’t upstaged so much as he was kept in place as an important character that gave way to the main actor at the time. In other words, he was important, but not the main part of the story.
One of his greatest roles came in the show Cobra Kai, which was one of his most recent outings on camera, and it turned out great since despite being a miserable old cuss, the role of Johnny Lawrence’s stepfather Sid was still a very needed presence to explain how Johnny turned out the way he did. Ed’s life was a long and successful one and he accomplished a great many things in his time. Rest in peace sir, you’ll be missed.