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George Segal

This article is about the actor. For the sculptor and painter, see George Segal (artist).
George Segal
Segal in 1965.
Born George Segal, Jr.
(1934-02-13) February 13, 1934 (age 86)
Great Neck, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, musician
Years active 1960–present
Spouse(s) Marion Segal Freed
(1956–1983; divorced)
Linda Rogoff
(1983–1996; her death)
Sonia Schultz Greenbaum

George Segal, Jr. (born February 13, 1934) is an American actor and musician.

Segal became popular in the 1960s and 1970s for playing both dramatic and comedic roles. Some of his most acclaimed roles are in films such as Where's Poppa? (1970), Blume in Love (1973), California Split (1974), and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in A Touch of Class (1973).

On television, he is best known for his roles as Jack Gallo on Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003) and as Albert "Pops" Solomon on The Goldbergs (2013–present).

Early life

Segal was born in Great Neck, New York, the son of Fannie Blanche Segal (née Bodkin) and George Segal, Sr., a malt and hop agent.[1][2][3] He is the youngest of three sons: oldest brother John, who worked in the hops brokerage business and was an innovator in the cultivation of new hop varieties,[4] and middle brother Fred, a screenwriter.[2] A six-year-old sister, Greta, died of pneumonia before Segal was born.[5]

Segal's family was Jewish, but he was raised in a secular household. A paternal great-grandfather ran for governor of Massachusetts as a socialist.[6] He did not attend religious school.[5]

When asked if he had a bar mitzvah, Segal stated: "I'm afraid not. I went to a Passover Seder at Groucho Marx's once and he kept saying, 'When do we get to the wine?' So that's my Jewish experience. I went to a friend's bar mitzvah, and that was the only time I was in Temple Beth Shalom. Jewish life wasn't happening that much at the time. People's car tires were slashed in front of the temple. I was once kicked down a flight of stairs by some kids from the local parochial school".[6]

All of Segal's grandparents were immigrants from Russia.[5][7] His maternal grandparents changed their surname from Slobodkin to Bodkin.[5] He first became interested in acting at the age of nine, when he saw Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire.[3] He states: "I started off with the ukulele when I was a kid in Great Neck. A friend had a red Harold Teen model; it won my heart. When I got to high school, I realized you couldn't play in a band with a ukulele, so I moved on to the four-string banjo."[8]

When his father died in 1947, Segal moved to New York with his mother.[9] He graduated from George School in 1951, and attended Haverford College.[10] He graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in performing arts and drama. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1956.[8][9]



After college, Segal got a job as an understudy in a Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh.[5] After serving in the United States Army, he appeared in Antony and Cleopatra for Joseph Papp and joined an improvisational group called The Premise, which performed at a Bleecker Street coffeehouse.[11] In 2001, he performed in Yasmina Reza's Art in his West End debut.[12]


Segal has played both dramatic and comedic roles, although he is more often seen in the latter. Originally a stage actor and musician, he appeared in several minor films in the early 1960s in addition to the well-known 1962 movie The Longest Day. He was signed to a Columbia Pictures contract in 1961, making his film debut in The Young Doctors and appearing in the television series Naked City.[13]

Segal was one of the stars of Stanley Kramer's acclaimed 1965 drama Ship of Fools, playing an egocentric painter. He played the title role as a scheming P.O.W. in King Rat (1965), a role originally meant for Frank Sinatra. He went on to play an Algerian paratrooper captured at Dien Bien Phu, who leaves the French army to become a leader of the FLN, in Lost Command (1966). He was loaned to Warner Bros for Mike Nichols' classic adaptation of the Edward Albee play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1967). He played the young faculty member, Nick, a role for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

For the next decade and onwards, Segal received many notable film roles. He appeared as a British secret service agent in The Quiller Memorandum (1966), a Cagney-esque gangster in The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967), a perplexed police detective in No Way to Treat a Lady (1968), a bookworm in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), a war-weary platoon commander in The Bridge at Remagen (1969), a man laying waste to his marriage in Loving (1970), a hairdresser-turned-junkie in Born to Win (1971),[14] a suburbanite-turned-bank robber in Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), and a faux gourmet in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978).[15]

Segal headlined several acclaimed films by notable filmmakers. He starred in Carl Reiner's 1970 dark comedy Where's Poppa?,[16] which Variety called "insane". It was a black comedy with Segal as a young lawyer with an active death wish for his old Jewish mother.[17] He played the lead role in Sydney Lumet's Bye Bye Braverman (1968), starred in Peter Yates' 1972 heist comedy The Hot Rock, played a comically unfaithful husband in A Touch of Class (1973), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, starred as the titular midlife crisis victim in Paul Mazursky's 1973 romantic comedy Blume in Love, and starred as a gambling addict in Robert Altman's California Split (1974). For A Touch of Class, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, which was the second Golden Globe of his career.

After receiving fewer prominent roles for most of the 1980s, Segal played the sleazy father of Kirstie Alley's baby in Look Who's Talking (1989) and later making a cameo in its 1993 sequel, and played a left-wing comedy writer in For the Boys (1991). Other more recent roles include supporting performances in The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), Flirting with Disaster (1996), The Cable Guy (1996), 2012 (2009), and Love and Other Drugs (2010).


File:The Goldbergs cast 2014.jpg
Segal (left) with The Goldbergs cast, 2014

Segal starred in the NBC award-winning sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003) as Jack Gallo, the eccentric but lovable publisher of a New York fashion magazine.[11] He was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy in 1999 and 2000 and a Satellite Award in 2002 for this part. The show lasted for seven seasons and 148 episodes.

More recently, Segal played Murray Berenson in the television series Entourage and starred in the TV Land sitcom Retired at 35 (2011–2012).[18][19][20]

Segal currently appears on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs (2013–present), playing the eccentric but loveable grandfather of a semi-autobiographical family based on series creator Adam F. Goldberg's family.[21] The series entered its second season in September 2014.[22][23][24]

In the 1970s and 1980s, Segal appeared frequently on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, nine times as a guest and once as a guest host. His appearances were marked by eccentric banter with Johnny Carson and were usually punctuated by bursts of banjo playing.[11]

In 1976, Segal co-hosted the Academy Awards.


Segal is an accomplished banjo player. At Haverford College and Columbia University, he formed Bruno Lynch and his Imperial Jazz Band. Segal also played with a dixieland jazz band while in college at Columbia that had several different names. When he was the one who booked a gig, he would bill the group as Bruno Lynch and his Imperial Jazzband. The group, which later settled on the name Red Onion Jazz Band, later played at his first wedding.[10] In the Army, his band was called Corporal Bruno's Sad Sack Six.[8]

In 1967, Segal released his debut LP, The Yama Yama Man. The title track is a ragtime version of the 1908 tune "The Yama Yama Man" with horns and banjos. Segal released the album at a time when he appeared regularly playing banjo on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.[8]

In 1974 he played in A Touch of Ragtime, an album with his band, the Imperial Jazzband (which, other than its name, may or may not have had any relation to his college band). During the 1970s and 1980s, Segal made frequent television appearances with the "Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band", whose members included actor Conrad Janis on trombone. Recent engagements in Los Angeles have included guest spots with the award-winning residency Guitarology.

In addition to playing banjo while appearing on The Tonight Show, Segal has played the instrument in several of his acting roles, including several episodes of The Goldbergs.

Personal life

Segal has been married three times. He married film editor Marion Segal Freed in 1956, and they were together for 26 years until their divorce in 1983.[25] They had two daughters, Polly and Elizabeth. He was married to Linda Rogoff, a one-time manager of The Pointer Sisters, whom he met at Carnegie Hall when he played the banjo with his band[26] (the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band), from 1983 to her death in 1996.[13] He married his former George School boarding school classmate Sonia Schultz Greenbaum in 1996.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Young Doctors Dr. Howard
1962 The Longest Day U.S. Army Ranger
1964 Invitation to a Gunfighter Matt Weaver
1964 The New Interns Dr. Tony "Shiv" Parelli
1965 King Rat Corporal King
1965 Ship of Fools David
1966 Lost Command Lt. Mahidi
1966 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Nick
1966 The Quiller Memorandum Quiller
1967 The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Peter Gusenberg
1968 Bye Bye Braverman Morroe Rieff
1968 No Way to Treat a Lady Morris Brummel
1968 The Girl Who Couldn't Say No Franco
1969 The Bridge at Remagen Lieutenant Phil Hartman
1969 The Southern Star Dan Rockland
1970 Loving Brooks Wilson
1970 Where's Poppa? Gordon Hocheiser
1970 The Owl and the Pussycat Felix
1971 Born to Win J
1972 The Hot Rock Kelp
1973 Blume in Love Stephen Blume
1973 A Touch of Class Steve Blackburn
1974 The Terminal Man Harry Benson
1974 California Split Bill Denny
1975 Russian Roulette Shaver
1975 The Black Bird Sam Spade Jr.
1976 The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox Charlie "Dirtwater Fox" Malloy
1977 Fun with Dick and Jane Dick Harper
1977 Rollercoaster Harry Calder
1978 Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? Robby Ross
1979 Lost and Found Adam
1980 The Last Married Couple in America Jeff Thompson
1981 Carbon Copy Walter Whitney
1984 The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood Robin Hood Television film
1984 The Cold Room Hugh Martin Television film
1985 Not My Kid Dr. Frank Bower Television film
1985 Stick Barry
1988 Run for Your Life Alan Morani
1989 Look Who's Talking Albert
1991 For the Boys Art Silver
1992 Me, Myself & I Buddy Arnett
1993 Look Who's Talking Now Albert Cameo
1994 Direct Hit James Tronson
1995 To Die For Conference Speaker Uncredited
1995 The Babysitter Bill Holsten
1996 It's My Party Paul Stark
1996 Flirting with Disaster Ed Coplin
1996 The Cable Guy Steven's Father
1996 The Mirror Has Two Faces Henry Fine
2000 The Linda McCartney Story Lee Eastman Television film
2004 Heights Rabbi Mendel
2005 Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone Albagon Voice
2007 Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure Horror Television film
2009 2012 Tony Delgatto
2009 Made for Each Other Mr. Jacobs
2010 Love and Other Drugs Dr. James Randall
2014 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Inbe no Akita English dub
2014 Elsa & Fred John


Year Title Role Notes
1963 Channing Andre 1 episode
1987 Take Five Andy Kooper 6 episodes
1988–1989 Murphy's Law Daedalus Patrick Murphy 5 episodes
1995–1997 The Naked Truth Fred Wilde 4 episodes
1997 Tracey Takes On... Harry Rosenthal 5 episodes
1997–2003 Just Shoot Me! Jack Gallo Series regular
149 episodes
2007 Private Practice Wendell Parker 1 episode
2008 Boston Legal Paul Cruickshank 1 episode
2009 Pushing Daisies Roy "Buster" Bustamante 1 episode
2009 Entourage Murray Berenson 3 episodes
2011–2012 Retired at 35 Alan Robbins Series regular
20 episodes
2013–present The Goldbergs Albert "Pops" Solomon Series regular
47 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
1961–1962 Gideon Purah Broadway
1963 Rattle of a Simple Man Ricard Broadway
1985 Requiem for a Heavyweight Maish Resnick Broadway
1998–1999 Art Serge Broadway
2001 Art Serge West End


Year Title Notes
1967 The Yama Yama Man LP
1974 A Touch of Ragtime LP
As George Segal and the Imperial Jazzband
1987 Basin Street LP
Canadian Brass with George Segal

Awards and nominations



Notes and references

  1. ^ "George Segal Biography (1934-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Klemesrud, Judy (January 10, 1971). "He's the Great Schlemiel". New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Vincent, Sally (July 7, 2001). "Return to the first act". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths Segal, John B.". New York Times. January 7, 2005. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Pfefferman, Naomi (August 28, 2013). "George Segal on ABC’s ‘The Goldbergs,’ ‘Where’s Poppa?’ and playing Jewish". Jewish Journal. Tribe Media Corp. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Schleier, Curt (September 18, 2013). "The Arty Semite: George Segal on 'The Goldbergs' and Playing Pops Solomon". The Forward. The Forward Association, Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "How to be a Jewish Son—or—My Son the Success!" (VIDEO). David Susskind Show. 1970. p. Season 12 : Ep. 7. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d Terry, Clifford (April 2, 1993). "Banjo Pickin' With George Segal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Overview for George Segal - Milestones". Turner Classic Movies. Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Segal, George. I've Got A Secret, April 11, 1966.
  11. ^ a b c Meisler, Andy (January 4, 1998). "Television; Out of the Polyester Past, a Comic Rogue Returns". New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "George Segal joins Art". BBC. March 28, 2001. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "George Segal waits for next up period". Spokane Chronicle. September 21, 1985. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  14. ^ Nugent, Phil. "Nitrate: The Forgotten Actor - George Segal". The High Hat. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  15. ^ King, Susan (January 24, 2011). "Funny thing about George Segal". L.A. Times. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  16. ^ Greenspun, Roger (November 11, 1970). "Where's Poppa (1970) Screen: 'Where's Poppa?' Aims to Remove Bachelor's Momma: Reiner Directs Comedy That Stars Segal Other Features Begin Their Runs Locally". New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Review: 'Where's Poppa?'". Variety. December 31, 1969. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "TV Land Greenlights Second Original Sitcom 'Retired At 35' Starring Television, Stage and Film Star, George Segal". PR Newswire. April 20, 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Hale, Mike (January 18, 2011). "Moving in With the Folks, Who May Not Be Thrilled". New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 3, 2010). "TV Land finds cast for George Segal pilot". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  21. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (September 24, 2013). "Seitz on The Goldbergs: Remember the Eighties? This Sitcom Sure Does". Vulture. New York Media LLC. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Lowry, Brian (September 17, 2013). "TV Review: 'The Goldbergs'". Variety. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Harris, Will (September 23, 2013). "George Segal on learning how to bet from Robert Altman, fathering Denzel Washington, and more". A.V. Club. Onion Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Barnes, Mike (December 25, 2011). "Marion Segal Freed, Film Editor, Dies at 77". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  26. ^ Marx, Linda (June 29, 1981). "With a Touch of Brash, George Segal Finally Plays the Big Time". People. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 

External links

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