Actor Ed Asner to appear at SHU, answer audience questions

Well-known actor Ed Asner will speak at Sacred Heart University on Sept. 14.
Well-known actor Ed Asner will speak at Sacred Heart University on Sept. 14.

Actor Ed Asner, best known for playing journalist Lou Grant on TV in the comedy “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the later drama “Lou Grant,” will appear at Sacred Heart University’s Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, Sept. 14 at 3 p.m.

Asner will participate in a live interview on stage as part of the 2014-15 American Legend Series at SHU in Fairfield.

His appearance will be in the style of an “Actors Studio” presentation hosted by Jerry Goehring, Edgerton Center executive director. In addition to video clips of his career and a discussion with Goehring, Asner will answer questions from the audience.

Asner is returning to Connecticut after an appearance three years ago in support of efforts to restore the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, where he was a member of the cast in one of the theater’s early seasons. Asner recalled working with legends of that time, including producer-director John Houseman, at the theater

Comedic and dramatic roles

Asner played the gruff but soft-hearted journalist Lou Grant, a role he originated on the landmark TV-newsroom comedy "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

Lou Grant's story continued in the newspaper-set drama "Lou Grant," which earned Asner five Emmys and three Golden Globe Awards, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama.

He received two additional Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the mini-series "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Roots."

In addition, he voiced Carl Fredricksen in the Disney Pixar animated film "Up," for which he received great critical praise for the role, with one critic actually suggesting "They should create a new category for this year's Academy Award for Best Vocal Acting in an Animated Film and name Asner as the first recipient."

Won most Emmys for male actor

Asner has won more Emmy Awards for performing than any other male actor (seven, including five for the role of Lou Grant). In 1996, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame.

He has also appeared in such shows as "Royal Pains," "Hot in Cleveland," "Hawaii Five-0" and "Law & Order: SVU," among others.

Asner’s most recent Broadway appearance was in Craig Wright's “Grace” in 2012, co-starring with Paul Rudd, Kate Arrington and Michael Shannon.

Social activist, autism involvement

Asner has provided voice-over narration for many documentaries and films of social activism. He has been associated with various progressive causes.

He is a frequent speaker on labor issues and an ally for some of the acting industry's older artists.

As a parent and a grandparent of an autistic child, Asner is deeply involved with the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks. He serves on the advisory board of a suburban Chicago firm that employs persons with autistic spectrum disorders.

How to get tickets

Tickets for the Asner appearance are $25 general public, $15 senior citizens and SHU faculty, and $10 students. Purchase online at; by phone weekday afternoons at 203-371-7908; and in person at the Edgerton Center box office.

The 776-seat Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts is totally wheelchair accessible. It is located on the Sacred Heart University campus at 5151 Park Ave. in Fairfield, off Exit 48 of the Merritt Parkway.