George Segal of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ & ‘The Goldbergs,’ Dies @ 87

George Segal, an actor with a more than 60-year career that spanned Broadway, TV and the movies, died Tuesday following complications from heart-bypass surgery.

As Nick in Woolf (Image via Warner Bros.)

He was 87.

ExtraTV reports Segal's final episode of the sitcom The Goldbergs — on which he has appeared as genial patriarch Pops since 2013 — is set to air April 7.

Before his TV stardom, which was kicked off by a similarly long run as obnoxious magazine publisher Jack Gallo on the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997-2003), Segal was one of the hottest big-screen actors of the '60s and '70s, and a face so familiar and so well-liked that he co-hosted the Oscars in 1976.

Born into a secular Jewish family in Great Neck, New York, on February 13, 1934, Segal has often said he was first attracted to movie acting after watching Alan Ladd (1913-1964) and Veronica Lake (1922-1973) in This Gun for Hire (1942). Though he didn't know it at the time, he was sponsored into the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in part of Lake, which touched him, leaving him philosophical when recalling this bit of trivia at his 2017 Hollywood Walk of Fame induction.

After studying actor at Columbia University and at the fabled Actors Studio in NYC, Segal made his TV debut in 1960 and had an early Broadway hit with Gideon (1961-1962).

In King Rat (Image via Columbia)

His luck in motion pictures began with small parts in The Longest Day (1962), Invitation to a Gunfighter (1964), The New Interns (1964) and King Rat (1965), and got a shot in the arm from a fortuitous appearance in the ensemble drama Ship of Fools (1965).

His Ship of Fools co-star BarBara Luna, 82, recalled him on Facebook as "a great guy, funny, sensitive and caring."

Though a newcomer in those heady days, Segal had already shared the screen with such luminaries as John Wayne (1907-1979), Yul Brynner (1920-1985) and Vivien Leigh (1913-1967).

With Elizabeth Ashley (b. 1939) in Ship of Fools (Image via Columbia)

With 1966's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — adapted from the incendiary 1962 Edward Albee (1928-2016) play and starring Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), Richard Burton (1925-1984) and Sandy Dennis (1937-1992) — Segal became a major star, and his nod for Best Supporting Actor was among the film's staggering 13 Oscar nominations.

Segal went on to appear in a wide variety of roles in a diversity of popular and acclaimed films, usually avoiding the types of bombs that could stunt an up-and-comer's career trajectory.

Considered one of the best gambling movies of all time (Image via Columbia)

Among his most memorable films: The Quiller Memorandum (1966), Bye Bye Braverman (1968), No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), Where's Poppa? (1970), The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), The Hot Rock (1972), Blume in Love (1973), A Touch of Class (1973), The Terminal Man (1974), California Split (1974), The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978), Look Who's Talking (1989), For the Boys (1991), Look Who's Talking Now (1993), To Die For (1995), It's My Party (1996), Flirting with Disaster (1996), The Cable Guy (1996), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), Love & Other Drugs (2010) and his silver-screen swan song, Elsa & Fred (2014).

Segal with Glenda Jackson (b. 1936) in A Touch of Class, for which she won the Oscar (Image via Warner Bros.)

Along the way, Segal made many TV guest appearances, and was a series regular on Take Five (1987), Murphy's Law (1988-1989), High Tide (1994) and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (voice, 1996-1997) before striking gold with Just Shoot Me!

Segal cruised as Pops on The Goldbergs. (Image via Eric McCandless/ABC)

Following the unsuccessful TV Land sitcom Retired at 35 (2011-2012), Segal went on to his greatest success outside of films on The Goldbergs, whose creator and cast remembered him on social media in the wake of his death.

Segal is survived by his third wife, Sonia, of 25 years, and by his two children.

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