Veteran actor George Segal, who was nominated for an Oscar for 1966′s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and starred in TV’s “The Goldbergs,” died on Tuesday. He was 87.
“The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery,” his wife, Sonia Segal, said in a statement.
A native of Great Neck, New York, Segal made his bones as a stage actor before becoming popular in the 1960s and ’70s for both dramatic and comedic roles.
In 1965, he played an egocentric painter in the star-studded “Ship of Fools” and a POW in the war drama “King Rat.”
His best-known role would come two years later, as young college professor Nick in the harrowing marital drama “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” based on the Edward Albee play by the same name.
The entire cast was nominated for Academy Awards: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton for starring roles, Sandy Dennis and Segal for supporting performances. While the women won Oscars, the men did not.
Younger audiences may know Segal better for his TV roles, including as magazine publisher Jack Gallo on the NBC series “Just Shoot Me,” which ran from 1997 to 2003.
Since 2013, he had played Albert “Pops” Solomon, the grandfather on the ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs.”
Series creator Adam F. Goldberg paid tribute to Segal on Twitter late Tuesday, writing, “Today we lost a legend.”
“It was a true honor being a small part of George Segal’s amazing legacy,” Goldberg wrote. “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.”
Actress Wendi McLendon-Covey, who plays family matriarch Beverly Goldberg on the show, also remembered Segal, posting a photo of the co-stars hugging on Instagram.
“Didn’t know the last time I saw you would be the last time I’d see you,” she wrote.
A lifelong banjo lover, Segal performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1981 with his group, the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band.
He leaves behind his wife and two daughters from a previous marriage.
With Post wires