In the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now, Ed Asner opens up about how he still feels connected to his most iconic role, The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s gruff but lovable newsroom boss, Lou Grant, and shares some of his favorite memories from the set.
“I put 12 years of my life into him,” says Ed, who also portrayed the character on the hit spin-off Lou Grant. “I am him.”
“I used my two [older] brothers as my guidepost in portraying the comedic Lou and looked more and more into myself to be the dramatic Lou," he says.
Ed as Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Ed tells Closer one of his favorite memories from the set of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. “One time I proudly came to rehearsal with my new hairpiece, which I didn’t use in the show, and Gavin [MacLeod]— who was balder than I was — proudly displayed his. John Amos said, 'You’re all jerks!' and pulled off his hairpiece — and nobody knew he wore one!”
“And Ted [Knight] was the funniest man any of us had ever been around. Ted, Gavin and I would go out Friday nights after the show with our wives and come in Saturday mornings feeling very bloated,” Ed tells Closer.
Ed says even thought he does miss Ted, who passed away in 1986, he also, “didn't miss [Ted’s] nuttiness and psychotic outbreaks, but he was a genius.”
The cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1972. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Unfortunately, Ed says he doesn’t get see his other co-stars very often, “They’re mostly busy working. Mary [Tyler Moore] is in New York, Valerie [Harper] has been sick, Cloris [Leachman] is busy still dazzling and Betty [White] is still captivating — they’re these old ladies and they’re stealing roles from me!”
The whole gang seems to be busier than ever and Ed has no plans to slow down anytime soon either. “I haven’t gotten caught up yet!” he says. “I think I’m a better actor now than I’ve ever been.”
For the full interview with Ed, including how he feels about dating after divorce at 85, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!