‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’: Why Star Ed Asner Said Acting ‘Commanded’ Him After Breakthrough

by Keeli Parkey

It’s difficult to imagine any actor other than Ed Asner playing Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore” show and its spinoff, “Lou Grant.” And, according to an interview Asner gave during August 2019, the actor could not have imagined working in any other profession.

To put it simply, the acting bug bit him. And, it bit him hard. And, Ed Asner was more than fine with that!

“Once I chose acting, it commanded me,” Asner told CloserWeekly.com. “It became my life. I could list the gutter as my residence, but I had to stay acting. There was always something in me that needed that.”

The famous television actor also talked about finding work as an actor during the interview.

“I started as an amateur, naturally, and the jobs would materialize,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” actor said. “Then when I turned pro, they came with regular delivery. Only after I’d been going for a while did I hit that dry spell, which lasted for a couple of years. I mean, I could call what I’m going through now a dry spell, but it’s a dry spell of a different nature. It’s not doing a whole series, it’s doing singles. It’s doing guest shots. … without the guarantee of permanence.”

And, while Ed Asner acknowledged his career lows, he also told CloserWeekly.com that he couldn’t imagine working in any profession other than acting. He was also ready to keep working at a pretty intense pace if he needed to.

“Hell yeah, and I could tell all the other things to go to hell,” Asner reportedly said. “It would be a long time before I did that, because I would keep trying to crowd in whatever came in. You know, make everybody happy.”

Ed Asner Knew He Had a ‘Good’ Thing with ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’

While he was working on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Ed Asner encouraged his castmates to celebrate the good material they were being given to work with and not to worry about how long the show would last.

“… that show definitely had the stamp of approval. It was a good show,” Asner said. “I can remember when we first started out and the rest of the cast, the other guys, were saying ‘Will we make it? Will we make it?’ What I said is, ‘I don’t give a s–t. If I just keep doing scripts this good, that’s all I care about. Whether they cancel us or not isn’t important. The fact that we’ve got this good stuff to do is all that matters.'”

For Ed Asner, doing “good work” is also very “important.”

“I think that quality work is more important than anything,” he said during the interview. “People talk about the show in terms of a revolution for television, but I didn’t think in those terms. It’s just that it was well done. You just need to do good work. Of course, you never know that so much as when you’re doing good stuff and then that’s over. Then the s–t comes in.”