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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
TV's Lou Grant honoured
Ed Asner
Asner: "A passion for social and political causes"
Actor Ed Asner, best-known as fictional TV newsman Lou Grant, is to be given the Screen Actors' Guild's (SAG) highest honour.

Asner, 71, will be presented with the SAG's Life Achievement Award in March 2002 - in recognition of "career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment".


His commitment to the rights of the working performer is unparallelled

William Daniels, SAG
The character Lou Grant was first introduced as Mary Richards' boss on the CBS sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in the early 1970s.

Grant, the editor of the fictional Los Angeles Tribune, then became a character in a show in his own right from 1977 to 1982.

The role earned Asner five Emmy and three Golden Globe Awards - and the actor received two more Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the series Roots and Rich Man, Poor Man.

During his acting career Asner has been an active supporter of a number of humanitarian and political causes, including Defenders of Wildlife, Peace Now, the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International.

'Passion'

In a statement, SAG president William Daniels said: "Edward Asner's prolific and much-honoured acting career demonstrates a consummate ability to transcend the line between comedy and drama.

"His passion for social and political causes has been consistently underscored by deeds as well as words.

"His service and commitment to the rights of the working performer is unparallelled."

Past recipients of the SAG's achievement award include Sidney Poitier, Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor.

Asner was born in Kansas City, Missouri and began acting at school.

After serving two years in France in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Asner returned to theatre work in Chicago.

Hollywood

In 1955 he made his Broadway debut with Jack Lemmon in Face of A Hero, then performed with the American and New York Shakespeare festivals and appeared in numerous off-Broadway shows.

Asner moved to Hollywood in 1961 and began his acclaimed career in television and film.

He was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1996.

Asner has had strong links with the Screen Actors Guild, serving as president from 1981 to 1985, and being honoured in 2000 with the union's prestigious Ralph Morgan Award.

The award presentation will be televised by the US TV network TNT on 10 March 2002.

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