George Segal, a prolific and beloved actor known for his work on Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Just Shoot Me!, and The Goldbergs, has passed away at the age of 87. The news of his passing was confirmed in a statement from his wife, Sonia Segal, who confirmed that “the family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery." Segal could most recently be seen playing Albert "Pops" Solomon on The Goldbergs, including on its currently-airing eighth season.
Born in Great Neck, New York, on February 13, 1934, Segal first became interested in acting at the age of nine. After attending college and enlisting in the Army, Segal would go on to study at the Actors Studio and perform on Broadway, ultimately signing a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1961. Just a few years later, he would go on to win the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year for The New Interns, alongside Harve Presnell and Chaim Topol. He would earn critical acclaim for a lot of projects in the years since, but would find a whole new sort of notoriety as part of the cast of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, alongside Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Sandy Dennis. He would go on to be nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the role. Segal also moonlighted as a musician, releasing his debut LP, The Yama Yama Man, the same year.
In the decade that followed, Segal would serve as a leading man in a number of major projects — and would make history as one of the first to do so with an unchanged Jewish surname. While his star power began to fade in the 1980s, he eventually rebounded, becoming a significant character actor in the 1990s and beyond.
"In the first 10 years, I was playing all different kinds of things," Segal said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 1993. "I loved the variety, and never had the sense of being a leading man but a character actor. Then I got frozen into this `urban' character. About the time of The Last Married Couple in America I remember Natalie (Wood) saying to me... `It's one typed role after another, and pretty soon you forget everything. You forget why you're here, why you're doing it.' Then my marriage started to fall apart... I was disenchanted, I was turning in on myself, I was doing a lot of self-destructive things... there were drugs... I'm also sure I was guilty of spoiled behavior. I think it's impossible when that star rush comes not to get a little full of yourself, which is what I was."
Segal's character work would include some notable standouts, including as Jack Gallo in the long-running NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me!. Outside of The Goldbergs, his recent work included voicing Inbe no Akita in the English version of the Studio Ghibli film The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, as well as appearances in Love & Other Drugs, 2012, and The Simpsons.
Our thoughts are with Segal's family, friends, and fans at this time.