George Segal (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 Ship of Fools (1965), King Rat (1965), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967), Where’s Poppa? (1970), The Hot Rock (1972), Blume in Love (1973), A Touch of Class (1973), California Split (1974), For the Boys (1991), and Flirting with Disaster (1996). He was one of the first American film actors to rise to leading man status with an unchanged Jewish surname—thus paving the way for Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand.
He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and has won two Golden Globe Awards, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in A Touch of Class.
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).
Segal is also an accomplished banjo player. He has released three albums and has also performed the instrument in several of his acting roles and on late night television.
Year Title Role Notes
1961 The Young Doctors Dr. Howard
1962 The Longest Day U.S. Army Ranger
1963 Act One Lester Sweyd
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
1982 Killing ’em Softly Jimmy Skinner
1985 Stick Barry
1988 Run for Your Life Alan Morani
1989 Look Who’s Talking Albert
1989 All’s Fair Colonel
1991 For the Boys Art Silver
1991 Time of Darkness Grigory
1992 Me, Myself & I Buddy Arnett
1992 Un Orso Chiamata Arturo Billy
1993 Joshua Tree Lt. Franklin L. Severence
1993 Look Who’s Talking Now Albert Cameo
1994 Direct Hit James Tronson Video
1995 To Die For Conference Speaker Uncredited
1995 The Babysitter Bill Holsten Video
1995 The Feminine Touch Senator “Beau” Ashton Video
1995 Deep Down Gil Video
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
2005 Heights Rabbi Mendel
2005 Chutzpuh, This Is? Dr. Dreck Short film
2005 Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone Albagon Video
2007 Three Days to Vegas Dominic Spinuzzi
2007 My Wife Is Retarded Julie’s father Short film
2009 2012 Tony Delgatto
2009 Made for Each Other Mr. Jacobs
2010 Love & Other Drugs Dr. James Randall
2010 Ollie Klublershturf vs. the Nazis Elliott Klublershturf Short film
2014 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Inbe no Akita English dub
2014 Elsa & Fred John
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
1993 The Fourth Wall Roger Chicago
1998–1999 Art Serge Broadway
2001 Art Serge West End
2007 Heroes Gustave Los Angeles
2007 Prophesy and Honor Col. Sherman Moreland Honolulu
2008 Secret Order Saul Roth Los Angeles
Year Title Role Notes
1963 Channing Andre 1 episode
1963 Naked City Jerry Costell 1 episode
1963 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Larry Duke 1 episode
1964 Arrest and Trial Jack Wisner 1 episode
1966 Death of a Salesman Biff Loman Television film
1967 The Desperate Hours Glenn Griffin Television film
1968 Of Mice and Men George Television film
1980 Winnetou le mescalero Gottlieb Miniseries
1982 Deadly Game Howard Trapp Television film
1983 Trackdown: Finding the Goodbar Killer John Grafton Television film
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
1986 Many Happy Returns William “Bud” Robinson Television film
1987 Take Five Andy Kooper Series regular
1988–1989 Murphy’s Law Daedalus Patrick Murphy Series regular
1989 The Endless Game Mr. Miller Miniseries
1993 Murder, She Wrote Dave Novaro 1 episode
1993 Taking the Heat Kepler Television film
1993–1995 The Larry Sanders Show Himself 2 episodes
1994 Seasons of the Heart Ezra Goldstein Television film
1994 Following Her Heart Harry Television film
1994 High Tide Gordon 6 episodes
1994 Picture Windows Ted Varnas Miniseries
1994 Burke’s Law Ben Zima 1 episode
1994 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters J.B. Voice
1995–1997 The Naked Truth Fred Wilde 4 episodes
1996 The Making of a Hollywood Madam Leo Television film
1996–1997 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Dr. Benton C. Quest Voice
1997 Tracey Takes On… Harry Rosenthal 5 episodes
1997 Caroline in the City Bob Anderson 1 episode
1997–2003 Just Shoot Me! Jack Gallo Series regular
1998 Houdini Martin Beck Television film
2000 The Linda McCartney Story Lee Eastman Television film
2001 The Zeta Project Dr. Eli Zelig 1 episode
2003 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Dr. Roger Tate 1 episode
2003 The Electric Piper Mayor Nick Dixon Television film
2005 Fielder’s Choice JD Television film
2007 Private Practice Wendell Parker 1 episode
2007 The War at Home Sid 1 episode
2007 Billy & Mandy’s Big Boogey Adventure Horror Voice
2008 Boston Legal Paul Cruickshank 1 episode
2009 Pushing Daisies Roy “Buster” Bustamante 1 episode
2009 Entourage Murray Berenson 3 episodes
2010 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Peter Trickell Voice
2011–2012 Retired at 35 Alan Robbins Series regular
2012 American Dad! Bernie Voice
2013–present The Goldbergs Albert “Pops” Solomon Series regular
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
1965: Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year, for The New Interns – Won (along with Chaim Topol and Harve Presnell)
1967: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Nominated
1967: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Nominated
1969: BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, for No Way to Treat a Lady – Nominated
1974: Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, for A Touch of Class – Won
1983: CableAce Award for Best Actor in a Theatrical or Non-Musical Program, for Deadly Game – Nominated
1999: Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy, for Just Shoot Me! – Nominated
2000: Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy, for Just Shoot Me! – Nominated
2001: Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy, for Just Shoot Me! – Nominated
George Segal Jr. was born in Great Neck, New York, to Fannie Blanche Segal (née Bodkin) and George Segal Sr., a malt and hop agent.He is the youngest of four children; oldest brother, John, who worked in the hops brokerage business and was an innovator in the cultivation of new hop varieties, middle brother, Fred, a screenwriter, and a six-year-old sister, Greta, who died of pneumonia before Segal was born.
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. 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”.
All four of Segal’s grandparents were Russian immigrants. His maternal grandparents changed their surname from Slobodkin to Bodkin. He first became interested in acting at the age of nine, when he saw Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire. 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.”
When his father died in 1947, Segal moved to New York City with his mother. He graduated from George School in 1951, and attended Haverford College. 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. He studied at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen.
Originally a stage actor and musician, Segal appeared in several minor films in the early 1960s in addition to the well-known World War II film The Longest Day (1962). 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.
In 1965, he was a co-recipient of the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year for his supporting role in The New Interns (1964).
In 1965, Segal was one of the stars of Stanley Kramer’s acclaimed ensemble drama Ship of Fools, playing an egocentric painter, and played the title role as a scheming P.O.W. in King Rat (a role originally meant for Frank Sinatra), receiving some acclaim for both performances. 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 onward, he received many notable film roles. He starred in Carl Reiner’s celebrated dark comedy Where’s Poppa? (1970), played the lead role in Sidney Lumet’s Bye Bye Braverman (1968), starred in Peter Yates’ heist comedy The Hot Rock (1972), played a comically unfaithful husband in Melvin Frank’s 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 acclaimed romantic comedy Blume in Love (1973), and starred as a gambling addict in Robert Altman’s classic 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.
During this time, he received many other leading 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 war-weary platoon commander in The Bridge at Remagen (1969), a bookworm in The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), a man laying waste to his marriage in Loving (1970), a hairdresser-turned-junkie in Born to Win (1971), a dangerous computer scientist in The Terminal Man (1974), a card shark in The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), a suburbanite-turned-bank robber in Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), an heroic ride inspector in Rollercoaster (1977), and a faux gourmet in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978).
Segal famously pulled out of the lead role in Blake Edwards’ hit comedy 10 (1979) and, with a few exceptions in films such as Carbon Copy (1981), subsequently received fewer prominent roles in the 1980s. Near the end of the decade, however, Segal began to reestablish himself as a successful character actor and has since performed in supporting roles in a number of prominent films, including Look Who’s Talking (1989), For the Boys (1991), To Die For (1995), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996), Flirting with Disaster (1996), The Cable Guy (1996), 2012 (2009), and Love & Other Drugs (2010).
Segal starred as Biff Loman in a notable television adaptation of Death of a Salesman in 1966 and also starred as George in a 1968 adaptation of Of Mice and Men. 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. In 1976, Segal co-hosted the Academy Awards.
Beginning in the 1980s, Segal began to appear in a number of television films and starred in a couple of short lived sitcoms, while also guest starring in shows such as Murder, She Wrote and The Larry Sanders Show.
From 1997 to 2003, however, Segal had his most prominent role in years when he starred in the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me! as Jack Gallo, the owner and publisher of a New York City fashion magazine. 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. The show lasted for seven seasons and 148 episodes.
More recently, Segal played Murray Berenson in three episodes of the television series Entourage (2009) and starred in the TV Land sitcom Retired at 35 (2011–2012).
Segal currently appears on the ABC sitcom The Goldbergs (2013–present), playing the eccentric but loveable grandfather of a semi-autobiographical family based on that of series creator Adam F. Goldberg. The series entered its second season in September 2014 and is currently (2018) in its fifth season.
In 2017, Segal received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Television.
After college, Segal got a job as an understudy in a Broadway production of The Iceman Cometh. 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. Over the course of his career, Segal performed in several other Broadway plays. In 2001, he performed in Yasmina Reza’s Art in his West End debut.
A banjo player, at Haverford College and Columbia University, he formed Bruno Lynch and his Imperial Jazz Band. He played with a dixieland jazz band while in college at Columbia that had several different names. When he 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.
In the Army, his band was called Corporal Bruno’s Sad Sack Six.
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.
In 1974, he played in A Touch of Ragtime, an album with his band, the Imperial Jazzband. During the 1970s and 1980s he made frequent television appearances with the “Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band”, whose members included actor Conrad Janis on trombone. In 1981, they performed live at Carnegie Hall. 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.
In 2005, Segal played Dr. Dreck, a Jewish rapper, in the short film Chutzpah, This Is, although he did not perform his own raps. The group Chutzpah has releeased two albums since.
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.They have two daughters. From 1983 until her death in 1996, 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, the Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band. He married his former George School boarding school classmate Sonia Schultz Greenbaum in 1996.