Veteran character actor George Segal, who was nominated for a supporting-actor Oscar for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and most recently appeared as Pops on the ABC sitcom “The Goldbergs,” died Tuesday at age 87.
His wife, Sonia, issued a statement saying Segal died of complications from bypass surgery.
The New York-born actor built a major resume of film roles in the 1960s and 70s, including appearances in “The Owl and the Pussycat,” “A Touch of Class,” “Fun with Dick and Jane,” “Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?,” “Where’s Poppa?,” “Ship of Fools,” “King Rat” and “The Last Married Couple in America.”
While he appeared in a host of dramas, he had a knack for comedy and plucking the banjo — two talents he combined often during appearances on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
But modern audiences know Segal best for his television work — first on the sitcom “Just Shoot Me” opposite David Spade and currently on the ABC ensemble comedy “The Goldbergs,” on which he played a still-womanizing grandpa and best friend to his grandson, Adam Goldberg.
Series creator Adam F. Goldberg wrote on 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 those memories say it all.”
Segal was a five-time Golden Globe nominee, winning twice for best actor in “A Touch of Class” and as “most promising newcomer” in 1965 following his work in “The New Interns.”
Segal was married three times, most recently to Sonia, whom he wed in 1996. He had two daughters from his first marriage, Polly and Elizabeth.