Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
The Christmas Card
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television
Rich Man, Poor Man
Raised in the only Jewish family in his neighborhood, American actor Ed Asner grew up having to defend himself both vocally and physically. A born competitor, he played championship football in high school and organized a top-notch basketball team which toured most of liberated Europe. Asner's performing career got its start while he was announcing for his high school radio station; moving to Chicago in the '50s, the actor was briefly a member of the Playwrights Theatre Club until he went to New York to try his luck on Broadway.
Asner starred for several years in the off-Broadway production Threepenny Opera, and, toward the end of the '50s, picked up an occasional check as a film actor for industrial short subjects and TV appearances. Between 1960 and 1965, he established himself as one of television's most reliable villains; thanks to his resemblance to certain Soviet politicians, the actor was particularly busy during the spy-show boom of the mid-'60s. He also showed up briefly as a regular on the New York-filmed dramatic series Slattery's People. And though his film roles became larger, it was in a relatively minor part as a cop in Elvis Presley's Change of Habit (1969) that Asner first worked with Mary Tyler Moore. In 1970, over Moore's initial hesitation (she wasn't certain he was funny enough), Asner was cast as Lou Grant, the irascible head of the WJM newsroom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The popular series ran for seven seasons, during which time the actor received three Emmy awards. His new stardom allowed Asner a wider variety of select roles, including a continuing villainous appearance on the miniseries Roots -- which earned him another Emmy.