Ed Asner Recalls His Famous ‘I Hate Spunk’ Line As He Marks 50th Anniversary Of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’

The actor said he still embraces the iconic line from the show's pilot five decades ago.

Ed Asner and Discretionary Award for Ground Breaking Show "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" winner, actress Mary Tyler Moore pose backstage at the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards held on March 7, 2004 at The Hollywood Palladium, in Hollywood, California.
Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

The actor said he still embraces the iconic line from the show's pilot five decades ago.

Ed Asner marked the 50th anniversary of The Mary Tyler Moore Show by looking back at his most famous line from the series.

Fifty years after the classic comedy’s September 18, 1970 debut, Asner — who played newsroom boss Lou Grant on the show for seven seasons — posted a photo montage to commemorate the occasion.

In the tweet, the 90-year-old actor shared four photos from the groundbreaking 1970s series, including two group pics of the cast and a still from the memorable premiere episode titled “Love Is All Around,” in which his character told his new associate newsroom producer Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) that she was too spunky and he didn’t like it. Mr. Grant would later come around after hiring the young producer, following an interview that included inappropriate questions about her religion and marital status.

In the caption to the post, Asner recalled that 50 years ago, he was “fortunate” enough to utter the iconic ” I hate spunk” line to his co-star. The actor added that five decades later, he still embraces the words for what they represent.

In the comments section to Asner’s post, longtime fans thanked him for the television series that normalized being a “working girl.”

Brady Bunch star Maureen McCormick, who was thick in the role of Marcia Brady at the time Moore’s show originally aired, wrote that every time she heard Asner say his famous line, it filled her with joy and that she always tried to anticipate when he would say it next.

“I adored the relationship Lou and Mary had! One of the greatest ever on TV! Thank you #mtmshow for 50 years of happiness and friendships,” McCormick wrote.

Actor Michael McKean, who also enjoyed 1970s TV fame as Lenny on Laverne and Shirley, wrote that he loved Asner and the whole “splendid bunch” from the iconic sitcom.

Other fans credited both the writers and the cast’s delivery on the Emmy-winning comedy that ended its run with a group hug on March 19, 1977.

After Moore’s death in 2017, Asner told USA Today that his late co-star was just as spunky as her TV alter ego.

“She had spunk,” Asner said of Moore. “I loved her. The world loved her — and it should have. She was an inspiration to women and she was a good example as a human being.”

In addition to Asner and Moore, the classic sitcom starred Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Betty White, Cloris Leachman, and Georgia Engel.