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By Ruth Kinane
March 23, 2021 at 09:04 PM EDT
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Actor and musician George Segal died on Tuesday due to complications from bypass surgery. He was age 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 to EW.

Perhaps best known for his performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Segal later became a household name for his television roles in Just Shoot Me! and later ABC's The Goldbergs.

Born in Great Neck, New York, Segal was the youngest of four children. He discovered an interest in acting at age 9 when he saw Alan Ladd in the 1942 film noir This Gun for Hire.  

After scoring a few roles on stage, including an understudy part in Broadway's The Iceman Cometh, Segal enjoyed a few minor film roles in the early 1960s. His first substantial part came in 1961 with The Young Doctors.

George Segal
George Segal
| Credit: Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images

It was in 1965 in Stanley Kramer's drama Ship of Fools and later in King Rat that Segal started to gain some recognition for his work. The next year came his Oscar nomination in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? alongside Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

By the early 1970s, Segal was enjoying a prolific career with appearances in movies such as The Owl and the Pussycat, Blume in Love, Born to Win, and The Hot Rock as he tried his hand at drama and comedy. In 1974 he won his second Golden Globe Award, this time for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Other notable film roles include parts in California Split (1974), For the Boys (1991), and Flirting with Disaster (1996).

Segal also had an illustrious television career. In 1966, he starred as George in the television adaptation of Of Mice and Men and, in the '70s and '80s, often appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as a guest and even once as a guest host. He also co-hosted the Academy Awards in 1976.

George Segal
George Segal
| Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC

Most recently, Segal was prominent on television sitcoms. His role as Jack Gallo on the NBC series Just Shoot Me! lasted for seven seasons from 1997 to 2003. He was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1999 and 2000, as well as a Satellite Award in 2002 for this part. His final role was on ABC's The Goldbergs playing eccentric grandfather Albert "Pops" Solomon.

Segal was also a talented banjo player, regularly showcasing his skill on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In 1974, he played on the album A Touch of Ragtime with his band, the Imperial Jazzband.

The actor had been married three times. He and his first wife had two daughters, Polly and Elizabeth, both of whom survive their late father. His third wife, Sonia Schultz Greenbaum, also survives him. The couple had been married since 1996.

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