A look at some Ed Asner non-Lou Grant roles

Edward Asner’s title card for The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. episode The Double-O-Nothing Affair

Actor Edward Asner has died at age 91. He, understandably, is receiving acclaim for a long career including playing Lou Grant on two series (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a comedy, and Lou Grant, a drama).

What follows are some of his acting credits of interest to the blog:

The Double-O-Nothing Affair, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.: Asner played a Thrush chieftain whose headquarters is based at a used-car dealership. It’s an outlandish concept, but Dean Hargrove’s script makes it work. The story also makes April Dancer (Stefanie Powers) and Mark Slate (Noel Harrison) look like smart, competent agents. That wasn’t always the case with The Man From U.N.C.L.E. spinoff. Asner, as usual, makes a great villain.

The Night of the Amnesiac, The Wild Wild West: Secret Service agent James West (Robert Conrad) loses his memory just as Asner’s villain gets his way out of prison. The villain’s gang has been taken over by his brother. The brothers hate each other but Asner’s character gets the advantage. Asner complains how killing family members makes him depressed.

Hawaii Five-O/Five-0 (original and reboot): Asner played villain August March in both versions of the series. He was a highlight in both.

The FBI: Asner played a kidnapper in two episodes. In The Tormentors (season one), Asner is more stable of the kidnappers who have seized a young man (Kurt Russell) who is the son of an aging rich man (Lew Ayres). Asner’s character is done in by his sickly and disturbed partner (Wayne Rogers). In The Dynasty (third season), Asner and his nephew (Martin Sheen) have kidnapped a man who runs a family business. Asner’s character is nasty and not well educated. His idea of reading is looking at Superboy comic books. In The Attorney (fourth season), Asner plays a sympathetic character, a working-class stiff whose daughter (Dawn Wells) is involved with a Cosa Nostra crime boss.

House on Greenapple Road: This TV movie was made by Quinn Martin, the producer of The FBI. Asner was part of a stellar cast (Janet Leigh, Christopher George Peter Mark Richman, Lynda Day George, Keenan Wynn, Walter Pidgeon, Joanne Linville and others) about a murder investigation with many twists. Asner plays a county sheriff, hungry for publicity and an overall louse. The TV movie was made in 1968 but not shown until 1970. It led to QM’s Dan August series.

CBS renews Hawaii Five-0 for a third season

CBS renewed the new Hawaii Five-0 series for a third season, according to the show’s official Twitter feed. It also linked to THIS PART of CBS’s Web site, but didn’t really provide any additional details.

Earlier this month, CBS said star Alex O’Loughlin would miss some time for rehab related to pain medication for a shoulder injury, according to a story on the Dateline Hollywood Web site.

Next week, CBS will also televise an episode where Edward Asner reprises a role he played in the original Hawaii Five-O series. Apparently the new show will say Asner’s August March was arrested by the father of O’Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett, rather than the Jack Lord original version of McG. Here’s a preview CBS uploaded to YouTube:

UPDATE: iTunes is offering episodes of the original Hawaii Five-O free for a limited time. To check it out, CLICK HERE.

Edward Asner to reprise role from old Five-O in new Five-0


The new Hawaii Five-0 evidently is going to bend the space-time continuum by having having 82-year-old Edward Asner reprise a role from the original Hawaii Five-O.

Here’s an excerpt from a report on the Deadline entertainment news Web site.

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Asner is upgrading his status on Hawaii Five-0 from a guest star to recurring. In a very unusual series guest arc spanning 36 years, the multiple Emmy winner will guest star on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot in the spring, reprising the role of August March, which he played in an episode of the original series in 1975.

That episode, Wooden Model of a Rat, aired in the eighth season of the original show. Logically, he can’t play the same role unless you accept the idea that there are two Steve McGarretts, two Dannos and two Chin Ho Kellys in the same fictional universe. August March was the villain going against a 49-year old McGarrett (the series established a 1926 birth date for the Big Kahuna; star Jack Lord was older than that, being born in late 1920) and a Chin Ho who was less than a perfect physical specimen. At least both Dannos (James MacArthur and Scott Caan) are short compared with their McGarretts (Lord and Alex O’Loughlin).

Then again, as the old saying goes, it’s just a television show.

According to the Deadline story, the new show will use footage from the original Asner appearance. The 1975 episode was written by Alvin Sapinsley, one of the best writers on the original show. His other credits include Sherlock Holmes in New York, the 1976 TV movie where Roger Moore played Holmes.

The FBI, season 1, part II now on sale

The rest of The FBI’s first season is now on sale through Warner Bros.’s online store. Included among the 15 episodes of the Quinn Martin/Warner Bros. series are these espionage-theme tales:

The Sacrifice: A defecting Soviet diplot informs the bureau that a key U.S. military contractor has been infilatrated by a spy ring. Inspector Lewis Erskine (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) and his partner Jim Rhodes (Stephen Brooks) are assigned the case.

The Spy Master: Erskine impersonates a U.S. diplomat who has been approached by China about turning over a valuable document known as the Forsythe Memo. Erskine’s assignment is to identify members of a Chinese spy ring. The episode was directed by future feature-film director Richard Donner.

The Defector: Two-part story has the bureau seeking an intelligence operative of an unnamed Eastern European country who wants to defect. The agent’s home country wants to prevent that. Meanwhile, a cagey chess player (John Van Dreelen) attempts to play both sides against the middle.

Non-espionage stories include Charles Bronson as a murderous criminal (The Animal), Colleen Dewhurst as a mentally unbalanced woman who has abducted a baby (The Baby Sitter) and Kurt Russell as a boy kidnapped by Wayne Rogers and Edward Asner (The Tormentors).