George Segal, the veteran actor who starred in countless movies and TV shows including Just Shoot Me! and The Goldbergs, has died at 87. He passed away due to complications from bypass surgery in Santa Rosa, California, reports Variety.
Born in Great Neck, New York in 1934 to a Jewish family, Segal quickly fell in love with acting after seeing Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire when he was nine years old. He spent his free time playing banjo and watching movies in high school before leaving for Haverford College. Segal then earned his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1955 and briefly served in the US Army.
After landing a job as an understudy in a Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh, Segal started securing sporadic roles in a handful of ’60s TV shows and caught the attention of film directors. That’s when he was cast in films like Ship of Fools, King Rat, Death of a Salesman, and Lost Command. In 1966, his appearance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton earned him a supporting actor Oscar nomination.
If it wasn’t already obvious, Segal had a stacked resume in the ’60s, and yet he managed to outdo himself in the following decade by acting in a string of remarkable films. In 1970, he starred alongside Eva Marie Saint in Loving and followed it up with Barbra Streisand in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), Susan Anspach in Blume in Love (1973), and Glenda Jackson in A Touch of Class (1973). He also landed roles alongside 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).
Other on-screen credits included Look Who’s Taking (1989), For The Boys (1991), and The Cable Guy (1996).
But arguably Segal’s most famous characters occurred on TV with his charismatic line reads. From 1997 to 2003, he starred as Jack Gallo in NBC’s workplace sitcom Just Shoot Me! where he delighted audiences with his rogue sense of humor. Years later, starting in 2013, he portrayed Pops Solomon in the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs — a gig he was surprised to score considering his age at the time.
“This was on the table, they sent it to me, and I laughed out loud, which is very rare. I really haven’t done that since I read the pilot of Just Shoot Me!,” he told The A.V. Club in 2013. “It’s very rare that an actor laughs out loud. So that caught my attention right away, and then an interview led from this to that and … ah, it’s mystical to me.”
Over the course of his six-decade career, Segall won two Golden Globes and was nominated for an Academy Awards, a BAFTA, and a Satellite Award. He also was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.
Since the news of Segal’s passing was announced, several fellow actors and comedians have taken to social media to honor to the late actor. Find those tributes below.
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
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
So sorry to hear of the passing of the wonderful George Segal! We did The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood together & I guested on Just Shoot Me. One of a kind and always a joy! #RIPGeorge #RIPGeorgeSegal 💔💔 pic.twitter.com/fEZpQSUkBU
— Morgan Fairchild (@morgfair) 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
George Segal was the last surviving cast member of Mike Nichols's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which was just one highlight of a long, varied, interesting career. He was a favorite of Nichols, who also cast him in the play The Knack, and it was an honor to interview him. RIP.
— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) 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
George Segal in Where’s Poppa was one of the biggest laughs I have ever had in a movie. He was a great actor. Too many of these type of posts lately. RIP George!
— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) March 24, 2021
So sad about the loss of George Segal. I grew up loving his films, from “Where’s Poppa?” to Sidney Lumet’s “Bye Bye Braverman,” to “The Hot Rock.” I got to work with him several times. This was last year at lunch. My deep sympathies to his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/HgQ6Z63kXO
— bob saget (@bobsaget) March 24, 2021
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) March 24, 2021