George Segal, whose decades-spanning acting career included earning an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to portraying Albert “Pops” Solomon on The Goldbergs, died on Tuesday, Variety reports. He was 87.
His wife, Sonia, confirmed the news. “The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery,” she said in a statement.
Since 2013, Segal had portrayed family patriarch Albert “Pops” Solomon on ABC’s sitcom The Goldbergs. While he is known for his later-career TV roles in The Goldbergs and Just Shoot Me! where he played magazine owner and publisher Jack Gallo, which earned him two Golden Globe nominations, he launched his career on Broadway. He landed roles in shows such as Gideon (1961-1962) and Rattle of a Simple Man (1963), after studying at the Actor’s Studio.
He signed to Columbia Pictures, where he garnered his first film role in 1961’s The Young Doctors. Throughout the early Sixties he appeared in several television shows, and in 1965 he earned his first major film role in Stanley Kramer’s drama Ship of Fools, starring alongside an ensemble cast that included Vivien Leigh and Lee Marvin. The film was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Picture category.
Segal himself garnered an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in Mike Nichols’ 1966 Edward Albee adaptation of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? where Segal played a college professor starring opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Through the Sixties and into the Seventies, he was cast by several renown directors for leading roles, including Sidney Lumet (1968’s Bye Bye Braverman), Carl Reiner (1970’s Where’s Poppa?), Herbert Ross (1970’s The Owl and the Pussycat), Paul Mazursky (1973’s Blume in Love) and Robert Altman (1974’s California Split).
In the Eighties he appeared in such films as Burt Reynolds’ Stick and 1989’s popular comedy Look Who’s Talking as well as television films and series. The next decade, he appeared as a character actor in several films, including 1991’s For the Boys and 1996’s Flirting With Disaster and made guest appearances on shows such as Murder She Wrote and The Larry Sanders Show before his prominent roles in Just Shoot Me! and The Goldbergs. He also appeared in films such as 2005’s Heights and 2010’s Love & Other Drugs. In 2017, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to his passion for acting, he was an avid banjo player. He made appearances performing the instrument on TV shows such as The Tonight Show and he released an album and performed in the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band.