George Segal, a longtime leading man in movies who can be currently seen as the lovable grandfather on ABC’s “The Goldbergs,” died Tuesday. He was 87.
Segal’s wife, Sonia Segal, issued a statement announcing her husband’s death via Sony Pictures Television, which produces “The Goldbergs.”
“The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery,” Sonia Segal said. The statement did not say when the surgery took place or offer any other details.
Segal’s friend and manager, Abe Hoch, also issued a statement mourning Segal’s passing.
“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,” Hoch said.
Segal received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Nick in 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” the film adaptation of a play headlined by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
The actor, who rose to film stardom in the 1960s and 1970s, won over a new generation of fans in recent years as Albert “Pops” Solomon, the wise and wryly funny grandfather of Adam, Barry and Erica on “The Goldbergs.” He filmed some episodes that remain to be broadcast.
“The Goldbergs” creator Adam F. Goldberg, who based the series on his own family, honored Segal via Twitter.
“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…” he wrote.
Before “The Goldbergs,” Segal enjoyed a long, successful acting career, starring in such films as 1972’s “The Hot Rock,” where he shared marquee space with Robert Redford, 1973’s “Blume in Love” and 1974’s “California Split.” He played the romantic lead against such luminaries as Barbra Streisand in 1970’s “The Owl and the Pussycat” and Jane Fonda in 1977’s “Fun with Dick and Jane.”
Segal remained a big-screen presence in supporting roles in later films, including 1989’s “Look Who’s Talking,” 1995’s “The Babysitter” and 1996’s “The Cable Guy,” in which he played the father of Matthew Broderick’s character.
Segal had a long career in TV before “The Goldbergs,” which premiered in 2013, including a six-season run on the NBC comedy “Just Shoot Me!” (1997-2003).
Segal, born Feb. 13, 1934 in Great Neck, Long Island, New York, also was a talented banjo player. He released three albums and entertained late-night talk show audiences with his musical abilities.