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Ron Leibman (1937–2019), acclaimed actor

The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images / DMI / Photo by David Mcgough

Starred in “Angels in America,” “Norma Rae,” and “Friends”

Ron Leibman was a longtime actor known for his acclaimed performances in the play “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” and the movie “Norma Rae.” Leibman won a Tony for his portrayal of attorney Roy Cohn in “Angels.” On television, he played the rich father of Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel. During his long career, he starred alongside Robert Redford and George Segal in 1972’s “The Hot Rock” and recently voiced a role on the FX animated series “Archer,” alongside his wife, actress Jessica Walter.

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Died: Friday, December 6, 2019 (Who else died on December 6?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 82 from pneumonia.


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Why he first passed on the role on the hit sitcom “Friends”:  "It sounded stupid to me, so I turned it down. And my daughter, then, who was of that age, said, 'No, you have to do it, you have to do it! I love that show, and I want to meet those kids.' I said, 'All right. I'll do it. I'll do it once, but that's all I'm doing.' So I did and had a very nice time, and they asked me back, and my daughter did get to meet those kids, so I was a big hero in the house. It's amazing, the power of the tube. I've done all this body of work, and they say, 'Oh, yes, Rachel's father.' I go, 'Give me a break.'" —AV Club Chat

What they said about Ron Leibman: “So many of the best memories of my career, have Ron Leibman in them. Thank you, Ron. For my being my champion. Rest, my friend.” —Sally Field

“Ron Leibman played Bob Crane’s agent in a film that Scott and I produced called 'Autofocus' — the scenes with Rob and Greg Kinnear are masterclasses in great acting. Disturbing, funny, tragic, true. R.I.P.” —Writer/Producer Larry Karaszewski

“Ron Leibman and Jessica Walter played my parents in the film Dummy. Every day we drove to the set together and they patiently answered every question I ever had at about every film they were ever in. What a privilege to work with him.“ —Illeana Douglas

Full obituary: Washington Post

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