George Segal, the banjo participant turned actor who was nominated for an Oscar for 1966′s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and labored into his late 80s on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, died Tuesday in Santa Rosa, California, his spouse mentioned.
“The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery,” Sonia Segal mentioned in a press release. He was 87.
George Segal was all the time finest often called a comic book actor, turning into one of the display screen’s greatest stars within the Seventies when lighthearted grownup comedies thrived.
But his most well-known position was in a harrowing drama, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, primarily based on Edward Albee’s acclaimed play.
He was the final surviving credited member of the tiny solid, all 4 of whom have been nominated for Academy Awards: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for starring roles, Sandy Dennis and Segal for supporting performances. The girls gained Oscars, the boys didn’t.
To youthful audiences, he was higher identified for enjoying journal writer Jack Gallo on the long-running NBC collection Just Shoot Me from 1997 to 2003, and as grandfather Albert “Pops” Solomon on the The Goldbergs since 2013.
“Today we lost a legend. It was a true honor being a small part of George Segal’s amazing legacy,” mentioned Goldbergs creator Adam Goldberg, who primarily based the present on his Eighties childhood. “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.”
In his Hollywood prime, he performed a stuffy mental reverse Barbra Streisand’s freewheeling prostitute in 1970′s The Owl and the Pussycat; a dishonest husband reverse Glenda Jackson in 1973′s A (*87*) of Class; a hopeless gambler reverse Elliot Gould in director Robert Altman’s 1974 California Split; and a bank-robbing suburbanite reverse Jane Fonda in 1977′s Fun with Dick and Jane.
Groomed to be a good-looking main man, Segal’s profile had been rising steadily since his first film, 1961′s The Young Doctors wherein he had ninth billing. His first starring efficiency got here in King Rat as a nefarious inmate at a Japanese jail camp throughout World War II.
In Virginia Woolf, he performed Nick, one half of a younger couple invited over for drinks and to witness the bitterness and frustration of a middle-aged couple.
Director Mike Nichols wanted somebody who would get the approval of star Elizabeth Taylor, and turned to Segal when Robert Redford turned him down.
According to Nichols’ biographer Mark Harris, the director mentioned Segal was “close enough to the young god he needed to be for Elizabeth, and witty enough and funny enough to deal with all that humiliation.”
He rode the movie to a long term of stardom. Then within the late Seventies, Jaws and different motion movies modified the character of Hollywood films, and the sunshine comedies that Segal excelled in grew to become passe.
“Then I got a little older,” he mentioned in a 1998 interview. “I started playing urban father roles. And that guy sort of turned into Chevy Chase, and after that there was really no place to go.”
Except for the 1989 hit Look Who’s Talking, Segal’s movies within the Eighties and Nineteen Nineties have been lackluster. He turned to tv and starred in two failed collection, Take Five and Murphy’s Law.
Then he discovered success in 1997 with the David Spade sitcom Just Shoot Me wherein he performed Gallo, who regardless of his gruff method hires his daughter (Laura San Giacomo) and retains Spade’s nugatory workplace boy character on his payroll merely out of a way of affection for each.
Series co-star Brian Posehn was one of many paying Segal tribute Tuesday night time.
“I grew up watching him, total old school charm, effortless comedic timing,” Segal’s Just Shoot Me Posehn mentioned.
“Doing scenes with him was one of the highlights of my life, but getting to know him a little and making the legend laugh was even cooler.”
Throughout his lengthy appearing profession, Segal performed the banjo for enjoyable, turning into fairly completed on the instrument he had first picked up as a boy. He carried out along with his personal Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band.
Born in 1934 in Great Neck, New York, the third son of a malt and hops seller, Segal started entertaining at the age of 8, performing magic tips for neighborhood youngsters.
He attended a Quaker boarding faculty in Pennsylvania and as an undergraduate at Columbia University organized “Bruno Linch and His Imperial Band,” for which he additionally performed banjo.
After graduating Segal labored non-salary at the New York theater Circle within the Square, doing every thing from ticket taking to understudy appearing. He studied drama with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, and made his first skilled appearing look off-Broadway in Moliere’s Don Juan. It lasted one night time.
After a stint on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, he was drafted into the Army. Discharged in 1957, he returned to the stage and would start getting small movie roles.
In 1956 Segal married tv story editor Marion Sobel and they’d two daughters, Elizabeth and Polly, earlier than divorcing in 1981.
He married his second spouse, Linda Rogoff, in London in 1982 and was devastated when she died of a abdomen illness 14 years later.
“It was a time when I said, `It’s not adding up; I don’t get it anymore,” he recalled to an interviewer in 1999. “With Linda dying, I lost interest in everything. I worked just to make a living. Acting, like life, became a joyless job.”
Eventually he reconnected with Sonia Schultz Greenbaum, who had been his girlfriend in highschool some 45 years earlier. They talked on the phone, generally so long as six hours, and have been married only a few months after reuniting.
“She helped me through the worst days of my life just listening to me unload,” Seagal mentioned in 1999. “It was magic.”