George Segal

Biography

At one time in the early 1970s, it seemed like George Segal would have a career like that enjoyed by his contemporary Jack Nicholson, that of an actor's actor equally adept at comedy and drama. Segal never made the leap to superstar status, and surprisingly, has never won a major acting award, the latter phenomenon being particularly surprising when viewed from the period 1973-4, when he reached the height of his career, appearing in A Touch of Class (1973) and Robert Altman's California Split (1974). It was at this point that Segal's career went awry, when he priced himself as a superstar with a seven-figure salary, but failed to come through at the box office. For example, The Black Bird (1975) was a failure, but, ironically, at the end of the decade, he dropped out of a movie that would have burnished his tarnished lustre as a star: Blake Edwards' 10 (1979). 10 (1979) made Dudley Moore a star, while Arthur (1981) made him a superstar in the 1980s, a lost decade for Segal. It was an example of a career burnout usually associated with the "Oscar curse" (his No Way to Treat a Lady (1968) co-star Rod Steiger, for example, was a great character actor whose career was run off the rails by the expectations raised by the Academy Award). George Segal has never won an Oscar, but more surprisingly, has only been nominated once, for Best Supporting Actor of 1966 for his role as "Nick" in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). George Segal was born on February 13, 1934 in Great Neck, Long Island, New York. After a stint in the military, he made his bones as a stage actor before being cast in his first meaty film role in The Young Doctors (1961). His turns in Ship of Fools (1965) and the eponymous King Rat (1965) in 1965 heralded the arrival of a major talent. He followed it up with his Oscar-nominated performance in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), in which he more than held his own against Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) was a cultural phenomenon, the film that wrecked the MPDDA censorship code that had been in place since 1934, and a huge box office success to boot. He had arrived in the major leagues. By the early 1970s, appearances in such films as The Owl and the Pussycat (1970), Blume in Love (1973), Born to Win (1971) and The Hot Rock (1972) had made him a major star with an enviable reputation, just under the heights of the superstar status enjoyed by the likes of Paul Newman. He followed up A Touch of Class (1973) (a hit film for which his co-star Glenda Jackson won an Oscar) and his brilliant performance as the out-of-control gambler in California Split (1974) with a co-starring turn opposite of Jane Fonda in Fun with Dick and Jane (1977), a big hit that revitalized Jane Fonda's film carer. He gave a deft comic performance in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978) with Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Morley, which proved a modest box office success. For all practical purposes, even after the failures of The Black Bird (1975), "Lucky Lady" and The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976), it seemed like Segal, with a few deft career choices, could reorient his career and deliver on the promise of his early period. That he didn't may be the unintended consequence of his focusing on comedy to the detriment of drama. The comedy A Touch of Class (1973) made him a million dollar-per-film movie star, and that's what he concentrated on. Segal began relying on his considerable charm to pull off movies that had little going for them other than their star, and it backfired on him. These films weren't infused with the outrageously funny, subversive comedy of Going Ape (1970), a success from his first period that he enjoyed along with co-star Ruth Gordon and director Carl Reiner. When Segal first made it in the mid-1960s, he established his serious actor bona fides with a deal he cut with ABC-TV that featured him in TV adaptations of Broadway plays. He also played a very memorable "Biff Loman" in Death of a Salesman (1966) (TV), shining in performance in counterpoint to the vital presence that was Lee J. Cobb's "Willy Loman". It was a good life for an actor, and he took time to show off his banjo-playing skills by fronting the "Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band", with which he cut several records. While the 1980s were mostly a career wasteland for Segal, he came back in the 1990s, using his flair for comedy as part of the ensemble cast of "Just Shoot Me!" (1997).

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Person Photo

Birth Name

George Segal, Jr.

Birth Place

Nueva York, Nueva York, Estados Unidos

Birth Date

2/13/1934

Death Date

3/23/2021
Known For
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Rollercoaster

Harry Calder

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Look Who's Talking

Albert

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Army of One

Lt. Franklin L. Severence

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Fun With Dick & Jane

Dick Harper

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The Quiller Memorandum

Quiller

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Born To Win

J

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The Mirror Has Two Faces

Henry Fine

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The Hot Rock

Kelp

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Carbon Copy

Walter Whitney

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King Rat

Corporal King

Starring In
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Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind

Self - Actor

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Robert Klein Still Can't Stop His Leg

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Elsa and Fred

John

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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Inbe no Akita (voice)

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Pablo

Self

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Love & Other Drugs

Dr. James Randall

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2012

Tony Delgatto

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Made for Each Other

Mr. Jacobs

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The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest (Season 1, Vol. 1)

Dr. Benton C. Quest (23 episodes, 1996-1997)

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The Brothers Warner

Self

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Three Days to Vegas

Dominic Spinuzzi

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Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone

Albagon (voice)

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This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Nick (archive footage)

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Heights

Rabbi Mendel

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The Linda McCartney Story

Lee Eastman

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Elizabeth Taylor: A Musical Celebration

(archive footage) (uncredited)

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Houdini

Beck

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The Mirror Has Two Faces

Henry Fine

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The Cable Guy

Steven's Father

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Flirting With Disaster

Ed Coplin

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It's My Party

Paul Stark

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Tracey Takes On - The Complete First Season

Harry Rosenthal (5 episodes, 1997)

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The Babysitter

Bill Holsten

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To Die For

Conference Speaker (uncredited)

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Deep Down

Gil

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Heinz Rühmann: Kleiner Mann ganz groß

(archive footage) (uncredited)

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Seasons of the Heart

Ezra Goldstine

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Direct Hit

James Tronson

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Look Who's Talking Now

Albert

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Taking the Heat

Kepler

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Army of One

Lt. Franklin L. Severence

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For the Boys

Art Silver

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Time of Darkness

Grigory

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Look Who's Talking

Albert

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All's Fair

Colonel

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Live Aid

Self - Host

Movie Poster

Stick

Barry

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Not My Kid

Dr. Frank Bower

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The Cold Room

Hugh Martin

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Carbon Copy

Walter Whitney

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The Last Married Couple in America

Jeff Thompson

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Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?

Robby Ross

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Rollercoaster

Harry Calder

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Fun With Dick & Jane

Dick Harper

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The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox

Charlie 'Dirtwater Fox' Malloy

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The Black Bird

Sam Spade Jr.

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Die Verschwörung

Shaver

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The Terminal Man

Harry Benson

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California Split

Bill Denny

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Blume in Love

Stephen Blume

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A Touch of Class

Steve Blackburn

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The Hot Rock

Kelp

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Born To Win

J

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Where's Poppa?

Gordon Hocheiser

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The Owl and the Pussycat

Felix

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Loving

Brooks Wilson

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The Bridge at Remagen

Lt. Phil Hartman

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La Stella del Sud

Dan

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Bye Bye Braverman

Morroe Rieff

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No Way to Treat a Lady

Morris Brummel

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The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

Peter Gusenberg

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The Quiller Memorandum

Quiller

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Lost Command

Lt. Mahidi

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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Nick

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Death of a Salesman (Broadway Theatre Archive)

Biff Loman

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King Rat

Corporal King

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Ship of Fools

David

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Invitation to a Gunfighter

Matt Weaver

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Act One

Lester Sweyd

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The Longest Day

U.S. Army Ranger

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