George Segal, the Oscar-nominated actor who sparred with Richard Burton in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, romanced Glenda Jackson in “A Touch of Class” and won laughs in the TV sitcom “The Goldbergs”, has died at the age of 87, his wife Sonia said on Tuesday.
“The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery,” Sonia Segal said in a statement to entertainment outlets Variety and Deadline.
ABC Entertainment added in a statement to ET Canada: “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.”
Charming and witty, Segal excelled in dramatic and comedic roles and had a life-long passion for the banjo. He performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1981 with his group, the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band.
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Segal’s acting career began on the New York stage and television in the early 1960s. He quickly moved into films, playing an artist in the star-studded ensemble drama “Ship of Fools” and a scheming, wily American corporal in a Second World War prisoner-of-war camp in “King Rat” in 1965.
Two years later he earned an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actor in the harrowing, marital drama “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” with Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
After the sad news emerged online, stars paid tribute to the much-loved actor.
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
George Segal has gone now. A career that kept going for 50+ because he loved it and he was great at it. RIP
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) 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
His entrance into the 1966 film that put him on the map: George Segal (with Sandy Dennis) in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” pic.twitter.com/xKlffF0eHf
— George Hahn (@georgehahn) March 24, 2021
RIP Jolly #GeorgeSegal. Met this legend on @TheGoldbergsABC. Was honored to speak for him the day he got his ⭐️. Told story about how my Mom was a big fan – so much so that my jealous Dad once snapped “If you love GeorgeSegal so much why don’t you fuck him, Grace?” Farewell Pops. pic.twitter.com/MxkoVkl7Uo
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) March 24, 2021
I loved George Segal. RIP.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) March 24, 2021
George Segal was a wonderful actor and a lovely, charming, funny man. Thanks for all you left us, sir.#RIPGeorgeSegal
— jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) March 24, 2021
RIP good sir. 🙏https://t.co/qOSq5Oh6WL
— Dean Cain (@RealDeanCain) March 24, 2021
years ago, i had the great honor to work with George Segal… i enjoyed every second of it…
rest in peace, George pic.twitter.com/8M638JER4O
— Jay Harrington (@jayharrington3) March 24, 2021
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Stephen Coates)