‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’: Mary Tyler Moore Revealed an Incident With Ed Asner That They Have ‘Never Spoken Of’

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a hit for seven seasons after its premiere in 1970. With Mary Tyler Moore starring as aspiring news producer Mary Richards, the sitcom’s casting of Ed Asner as her grumpy but warmhearted boss Lou Grant made for TV magic.

The two actors remained close friends even after The Mary Tyler Moore Show ended in 1977. Moore shared many memories from her series in her previous memoir, including an unexpected – and revealing – run-in with her co-star.

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In a 2019 interview, Asner spoke of the genuine affection the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show had for each other. The legendary ensemble included Ted Knight (Ted Baxter), Valerie Harper (Rhoda Morgenstern), Gavin MacLeod (Murray Slaughter), Betty White (Sue Ann Nivens), and Cloris Leachman (Phyllis Lindstrom).

“We loved each other,” Asner said of his co-stars, according to Closer Weekly. “We forgave each others’ faults and we stayed a family for many years. … the loyalty and dedication to each other was always there.”

Asner won three Emmy Awards for his role as Lou Grant, and the actor credited the show’s impressive content for its success.

“That show definitely had the stamp of approval,” he shared. “When we first started out and the rest of the cast… were saying ‘Will we make it? Will we make it?’ What I said is, ‘I don’t give a sh*t. If I just keep doing scripts this good, that’s all I care about.’ … I think that quality work is more important than anything. 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.”

Mary Tyler Moore saw more of Ed Asner than expected

Before her death in 2017, Moore often echoed Asner’s sentiments regarding her love for her former cast mates. She also shared some humorous stories, including one from her book Growing Up Again that involved Asner and a surprise encounter.

“I pushed through the heavy soundproof door of our home, Stage 2, and despite the dim lighting, strolled to what I thought was my dressing room,” Moore recalled. “I opened the door just in time to lock eyes with a glistening Ed Asner as he stepped out of the shower!”

Unfortunately for Asner, he was unable to find suitable cover before Moore got a glimpse of him au naturel.

“As he made a mad dash for a towel that wasn’t there,” Moore wrote, “I, too, quickly backed out of the room, knocking over a misplaced standing lamp en route.”


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‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ co-stars avoided the topic

Though Moore was able to recall the incident in her book, she admitted that she and Asner never broached the topic.

“Ed and I have never spoken of that brief encounter,” Moore remarked. “It’s the kind of occurrence that needs to be faced right away or not at all, don’t you think?”

Yet Moore did give a nod to Asner for more than his acting prowess, noting, “I do feel obliged to remark that the rave reviews of his enormous talent through the years should not be limited to what you see onscreen.”