Image of George Segal

George Segal

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 Where's Poppa? (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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Born:
Feb 13, 1934 In Great Neck, New York
Movie/TV Credits:
87
First Appeared:
In the series The Academy Awards 1953-03-18
Latest Project:
Movie Elsa & Fred 2014-03-07
Known For
Poster of Deep Down
Poster of Me, Myself and I
Poster of Tenderly
Filmography
Movie Elsa & Fred John 2014-03-07
Series The Goldbergs Albert 'Pops' Solomon 2013-09-24
Movie The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Inbe no Akita (voice) 2013-11-23
Series Retired at 35 2011-01-19
Movie Ollie Klublershturf vs. the Nazis Elliott Klublershturf 2010-09-14
Movie Love & Other Drugs James Randall 2010-11-22
Movie 2012 Tony Delgatto 2009-10-10
Movie Three Days To Vegas Dominic Spinuzzi 2008-04-22
Movie Billy and Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure Horror (voice) 2007-03-30
Series Private Practice Unknown 2007-09-26
Series Pushing Daisies Unknown 2007-10-02
Movie Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone Albagon (voice) 2005-05-17
Movie Heights Rabbi Mendel 2005-01-01
Series The War at Home Unknown 2005-09-11
Movie Fielder's Choice JD 2005-06-18
Series Entourage Unknown 2004-07-18
Series Boston Legal Unknown 2004-10-03
Series The Zeta Project Unknown 2001-01-27
Series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Unknown 1999-09-20
Movie Houdini Beck 1998-12-06
Series Cow and Chicken Unknown 1997-01-13
Series Just Shoot Me! Jack Gallo 1997-03-04
Series Tracey Takes On... 1996-01-24
Movie Flirting with Disaster Ed Coplin 1996-03-22
Movie It's My Party Paul Stark 1996-03-22
Movie The Mirror Has Two Faces Henry Fine 1996-11-15
Series The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest 1996-08-26
Movie The Cable Guy Steven's father 1996-06-10
Movie The Feminine Touch Sen. Beau Ashton 1995-01-01
Movie The Babysitter Bill Holsten 1995-10-17
Movie Deep Down Gil 1994-03-26
Movie Seasons of the Heart Ezra Goldstine 1994-05-22
Movie Direct Hit James Tronson 1994-12-14
Series High Tide 1994-09-24
Movie Joshua Tree Lt. Franklin L. Severence 1993-08-04
Movie Look Who's Talking Now! Albert 1993-11-05
Movie Me, Myself and I Buddy Arnett 1992-01-01
Movie Time of Darkness Grigory 1991-01-01
Movie For the Boys Art Silver 1991-11-22
Movie Look Who's Talking Albert 1989-10-12
Movie All's Fair 1989-01-01
Movie Run for Your Life Alan Morani 1988-01-01
Series Murphy's Law 1988-11-02
Movie Not My Kid Dr. Frank Bower 1985-01-15
Movie Stick Barry Braham 1985-04-26
Movie The Zany Adventures of Robin Hood Robin Hood 1984-05-22
Movie The Cold Room Hugh Martin 1984-09-27
Series Murder, She Wrote Unknown 1984-09-30
Movie The Deadly Game Howard Trapp 1982-07-22
Movie Carbon Copy Walter Whitney 1981-09-25
Movie The Last Married Couple in America Jeff Thompson 1980-04-03
Movie Lost and Found Adam 1979-07-13
Movie Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? Robby Ross 1978-10-06
Movie Fun with Dick and Jane Dick Harper 1977-03-18
Movie Rollercoaster Harry Calder 1977-06-10
Movie The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox Charlie 'Dirtwater Fox' Malloy 1976-04-01
Movie Russian Roulette Shaver 1975-08-20
Movie The Black Bird Sam Spade Jr. 1975-12-25
Movie The Terminal Man Harry Benson 1974-06-19
Movie California Split Bill Denny 1974-08-07
Movie A Touch of Class Steven 'Steve' Blackburn 1973-01-01
Movie Blume In Love Stephen Blume 1973-06-17
Movie The Hot Rock Kelp 1972-01-26
Movie Born to Win J(JJ) 1971-12-01
Movie The Owl and the Pussycat Felix 1970-01-01
Movie Loving Brooks Wilson 1970-03-04
Movie Where’s Poppa? Gordon Hocheiser 1970-11-10
Movie The Southern Star Dan 1969-03-04
Movie The Bridge at Remagen Lt. Phil Hartman 1969-06-25
Movie Bye Bye Braverman Morroe Rieff 1968-02-21
Movie Tenderly Franco 1968-09-26
Movie No Way to Treat a Lady Morris Brummel 1968-03-20
Movie The St. Valentine's Day Massacre Peter Gusenberg 1967-06-30
Movie Death of a Salesman Biff Loman 1966-05-07
Movie Lost Command Lt. Mahidi 1966-05-01
Movie Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Nick 1966-06-21
Movie The Quiller Memorandum Quiller 1966-11-10
Movie Ship of Fools David 1965-07-29
Movie King Rat Corporal King 1965-10-27
Movie Invitation to a Gunfighter Matt Weaver 1964-01-01
Movie The New Interns Dr. Tony 'Shiv' Parelli 1964-06-01
Series Arrest and Trial Unknown 1963-09-15
Movie Act One Lester Sweyd 1963-12-26
Movie The Longest Day U.S. Army Ranger 1962-09-25
Movie The Young Doctors Dr. Howard 1961-08-23
Series Naked City Unknown 1958-09-30
Series The Academy Awards Unknown 1953-03-18