This news is bound to hit hard for a whole bunch of people. Classic film people, NBC’s Must See TV people, people who love the kind of iconic voice that you can hear in your head even when they’re not talking. Because Deadline is reporting the sad news that veteran TV and film actor George Segal has died.
George’s wife of 23 years Sonia Segal confirmed the news, saying that George died yesterday in Santa Rosa, California at the age of 87, due to complications from bypass surgery. He leaves behind his wife, and two adult children from his first marriage.
George Segal was born and raised in New York state, and started out in show business the same way pretty much all aspiring entertainers do: by getting super dedicated to learning how to play the banjo. Okay sure, literally no one does that, but George Segal did. George learned to play the banjo and graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in performing arts and drama in 1955. He played in various bands there, and when he was shipped off into the United States Army shortly thereafter, he started a band there too, where – you guessed it – he played banjo. Sadly, he wasn’t meant to be a banjo star – instead, when he left the army, he began to get serious about an acting career, taking classes at the famous Actors Studio under Lee Strasberg. After appearing in a few off-Broadway things, he made a move into television, then a literal move to Hollywood, which is where his career sort of took off. He landed a role in the medical drama The New Interns, which won him the 1965 Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.
After winning his Golden Globe, he transitioned into doing more film in the 60s and 70s, appearing in Ship of Fools, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Fun with Dick and Jane, California Split, The Owl and the Pussycat (he would later go on to star with Barbra Streisand again in 1996 in The Mirror Has Two Faces). The man worked. Scrolling through his filmography will give you a finger cramp. In his later film career, he appeared in tons of stuff like Look Who’s Talking (as that two-timing cheater Kirstie Alley gets pregnant by), Flirting with Disaster, To Die For, and Ben Stiller’s dad in The Cable Guy.
His career in film landed him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nomination in 1967 for his performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. In 1974, he won the Golden Globe Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for A Touch of Class. He was nominated for a total of five Golden Globes, two of which were for television, which brings us to the generation that knows George from TV.
George kept appearing here and there in the odd TV appearance and sometimes took a starring role, like in the short-lived ABC crime drama Murphy’s Law in the late 80s. In 1997 (all the Just Shoot Me! fans just perked up, right?), George was cast as Laura San Giacomo’s dad-slash-boss Jack Gallo on Just Shoot Me!. George played the role for all 7 seasons. In 2013, George was cast as Albert “Pops” Solomon on The Goldbergs, a show that always made me question the DNA mechanics behind Jeff Garlin having such a hot dad (I said it, I stand by it). George was still on The Goldbergs at the time of his death, and many of his current and former co-stars have paid tribute. George’s final episode of The Goldbergs will air on April 7th.
— Wendi McLendon-Covey (@wendimclendonco) March 24, 2021
Aww man, not George. I grew up watching him, total old school charm, effortless comedic timing. 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. I’ll miss you, sir. RIP George Segal. pic.twitter.com/JRtOirWThl
— Brian Posehn (@thebrianposehn) March 24, 2021
So sorry to hear about George Segal‘s passing. We had such fun making Owl and the Pussycat. May he Rest In Peace…
— Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) March 24, 2021
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
So beyond sad and heartbroken to say goodbye to my film dad, the late, great #GeorgeSegal – I was so starstruck on set. To my surprise he not only let me ask him about all of his incredible experiences but indulged me in stories I could have never possibly imagined. RIP pic.twitter.com/LcIeOXof1c
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) March 24, 2021
My personal favorite George Segal movie is “The Hot Rock”. What a career. What a nice man, what an iconic cool funny 70’s movie star. #RIP
— Ben Stiller (@RedHourBen) March 24, 2021
Rest in peace to George Segal, an underrated TV and movie dad.