George Segal, the Oscar-nominated actor whose credits range from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Where’s Poppa? to Just Shoot Me! and The Goldbergs, died today in Santa Rosa, CA, of complications from bypass surgery. He was 87.
His wife, Sonia Segal confirmed the news. “The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery,” she said in a statement.
For the past eight years, Segal had been a series regular on ABC’s 1980s-set family comedy The Goldbergs. The last episode he filmed before his death, Episode 16 of the show’s current eighth season, is set to air April 7. The series is expected to pay tribute to Segal on-air.
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Segal probably is best known for his TV sitcom role as magazine publisher Jack Gallo on NBC’s Just Shoot Me!, which earned him two Golden Globe nominations, and as family patriarch Albert “Pops” Solomon on The Goldbergs. He also headlined the late-’80s ABC detective drama Murphy’s Law, the 1987 CBS comedy Take Five and TV Land sitcom Retired at 35.
But Segal also was an Oscar nominee for Mike Nichols’ 1966 Edward Albee adaptation Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — co-starring opposite A-listers Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton — and a leading man in movies. He starred in films by such legends as Stanley Kramer (Ship of Fools, 1965), Roger Corman (The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, 1967), Sidney Lumet (Bye Bye Braverman, 1968), Carl Reiner (Where’s Poppa?, 1970), Herbert Ross (The Owl and the Pussycat, 1970), Paul Mazursky (Blume in Love, 1973) and Robert Altman (California Split, 1974).
He also starred in two films by writer-director Melvin Frank — 1973’s A Touch of Class, opposite Glenda Jackson, and 1976’s The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox, with Goldie Hawn — and opposite Barbra Streisand in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), which she also directed.
Segal’s many other big screen credits include King Rat, The Terminal Man, The Black Bird, Fun with Dick and Jane, Russian Roulette, Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?, All’s Fair, Time of Darkness, For the Boys, two Look Who’s Talking films and David O. Russell’s Flirting with Disaster.
Among his first film credits were The Young Doctors (1961) and an Army Ranger role in The Longest Day, the 1962 D-Day epic that starred John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Rod Steiger, Robert Wagner, Red Buttons, Steve Forrest and a pre-Bond Sean Connery.
Born on February 13, 1934, in Great Neck, NY, Segal did a stint in the military before getting his start on the small screen, guesting on shows including Naked City, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Arrest and Trial. He also was a longtime banjo player who made three albums and often used the instrument onscreen.
Segal also had a handful of Broadway roles, starring with John Lithgow in the 1985 adaptation of Rod Serling’s Requiem for a Heavyweight and 1999’s Art with Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina.
Along with his Academy Award nomination, Segal was a five-time Golden Globe nominee and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to his wife, Sonia, he is survived by daughters Elizabeth and Polly Segal (Michael Lemkin); stepchildren David Greenbaum (Heidi Rosenfelder), Matthew Greenbaum and Samantha Greenbaum (Edward Rohmer); and grandchildren Lucas Greenbaum and Jacob and Max Rohmer.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Planned Parenthood.
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