Yitzhak Edward Asner (born November 15, 1929) is an American actor, activist, voice actor and a former president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is primarily known for his role as Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s, on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama. He is also known for portraying Santa Claus in the comedy film Elf (2003) and its animated remake Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas (2014). He is the most honored male performer in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, having won seven.
In 2009, he starred as the voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's animated film Up, and made a guest appearance on CSI: NY in the episode "Yahrzeit". In early 2011, Asner returned to television as butcher Hank Greziak in Working Class, the first original sitcom on cable channel CMT. He starred in the Canadian television series Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays, on CBC Television and has appeared in the 2013 television series The Glades. Asner guest-starred as Guy Redmayne, a homophobic billionaire who supports Alicia Florrick's campaign, in the sixth season of The Good Wife.
Early life and education
Asner was born on November 15, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri. His Jewish Russian-born parents, Lizzie (née Seliger), a housewife, and David Morris Asner, ran a second-hand shop. He was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family.
Asner attended Wyandotte High School in Kansas City, Kansas, and the University of Chicago.
He worked on the assembly line for General Motors. Asner served with the U.S. Army Signal Corps and appeared in plays that toured Army camps in Europe.