The Goldbergs star George Segal has died at the age of 87, his wife said.
Segal, who was Jewish, was Oscar-nominated for 1966 black comedy-drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, died on Tuesday in Santa Rosa, California.
Sonia Segal said: “The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery.”
Since 2013 Segal, also an accomplished banjo player, had played Albert ‘Pops’ Solomon on TV comedy The Goldbergs.
He starred as magazine publisher Jack Gallo in the US sitcom Just Shoot Me from 1997 to 2003.
According to the Jewish Daily Forward, when asked if he had a barmitzvah, he said: “I’m afraid not. I went to a Passover Seder at Groucho Marx’s once and he kept saying, “When do we get to the wine?” So that’s my Jewish experience. I went to a friend’s barmitzvah, and that was the only time I was in Temple Beth Shalom.”
Jewish life wasn’t happening that much at the time. People’s car tires were slashed in front of the temple. I was once kicked down a flight of stairs by some kids from the local parochial school”
Segal’s portrayal of Nick in the Mike Nichols-directed Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? earned him a best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars.
His co-stars – Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis – were also nominated, with both women winning.
Wendi McLendon-Covey, Segal’s The Goldbergs co-star, was among those to pay tribute online.
Alongside a picture of her with the late actor, she wrote: “Grateful.”
Grateful. ???? pic.twitter.com/wSWSmcEFxQ
— Wendi McLendon-Covey (@wendimclendonco) March 24, 2021
Patton Oswalt, another star of the show, said: “NOOOOOOO. Oh my God he was such a sweetie. And totally happy to dish with an annoying film nerd about CALIFORNIA SPLIT, BLUME IN LOVE, and everything. RIP king.”
The Goldbergs creator, Adam F Goldberg, described Segal as a “legend”.
He said: “It was a true honour being a small part of George Segal’s amazing legacy. By pure fate, I ended up casting the perfect person to play Pops. Just like my grandfather, George was a kid at heart with a magical spark.”
Today we lost a legend. It was a true honor being a small part of George Segal’s amazing legacy. By pure fate, I ended up casting the perfect person to play Pops. Just like my grandfather, George was a kid at heart with a magical spark. I think these memories say it all… pic.twitter.com/D1aNZuT20e
— Adam F. Goldberg (@adamfgoldberg) March 24, 2021
Melissa Joan Hart, titular star of Sabrina The Teenage Witch, directed Segal in an episode of The Goldbergs.
In her tribute, she said: “Shocked and saddened to hear of #GeorgeSegal passing away!
“From being on set of #JustShootMe to directing him on #Goldbergs, he was a true gem and great man. He will be missed!”
Segal’s manager, Abe Hoch, said: “I am saddened by the fact that my close friend and client of many years has passed away. I will miss his warmth, humour, camaraderie and friendship. He was a wonderful human.”
Segal, who often played genial, everyman characters, also starred in films Bye Bye Braverman, A Touch Of Class, The Hot Rock and Fun With Dick And Jane.
Segal was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2017.
It is understood Segal’s last episode on The Goldbergs will be broadcast in early April.
A spokesman for ABC Entertainment said: “For eight years, George Segal made us laugh as Pops on The Goldbergs, but his legacy in the entertainment world spans decades.
“His talent has left an indelible mark and we’re grateful for the laughter and joy he has given us all.
“Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his wife, Sonia, and his family during this difficult time.”
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