George Segal, the actor known for his comedy in the ’70s died today in Santa Rosa, California at the age of 87.
His wife Sonia announced his death, saying, “The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery.” Segal is also survived by his daughters, Polly and Elizabeth.
Longtime manager and friend Abe Hoch said in a statement, “I am saddened by the fact that my close friend and client of many years has passed away. I will miss his warmth, humor, camaraderie and friendship. He was a wonderful human.”
He was also a musician: Segal enjoyed playing the ukulele and the banjo, and recorded an album of banjo music with his group The Imperial Jazz Band and performed on The Tonight Show as well as in several of his film and television roles, according to Variety.
The youngest of four children, George Segal Jr. was born on Feb. 13, 1934, in Great Neck, New York. His father was a malt-and-hops agent and his mother, Fanny, a housewife.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Segal’s performance as a timid young professor in Mike Nichols’ Best Picture nominee, 1966’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton landed him a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. The film was nominated for 13 Oscars and won five.
Segal starred for seven seasons (1997-2003) on the NBC workplace sitcom Just Shoot Me! as Jack Gallo, the many-times-married publisher who employs his journalist daughter (Laura San Giacomo) at his fashion magazine, Blush.
In 2013, Segal played the role of Pops Solomon, a womanizing grandfather on the ’80s The Goldbergs on ABC. Segal appeared in all eight seasons of the show.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, top directors of the ’60s and ’70s Robert Altman, Mike Nichols, Paul Mazursky and Sidney Lumet cast Segal for his “gently humorous everyman quality,” and he often played an unlucky-in-love professional or a writer who gets in over his head.
During his ’70s-80 run, Segal teamed up with leading ladies Eva Marie Saint in Loving (1970), Barbra Streisand in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), Susan Anspach in Paul Mazursky’s Blume in Love (1973), Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class (1973), Goldie Hawn in The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), Jane Fonda in Fun With Dick and Jane (1977), Jacqueline Bisset in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978) and Natalie Wood in The Last Married Couple in America (1980).