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Norma Rae, Friends Actor Ron Leibman Dead at 82

Award-winning actor starred opposite Sally Field in 'Norma Rae,' played Roy Cohn in Kushner play
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 7, 2019 6:00 AM CST
This Sept. 18, 2005, file photo shows Ron Leibman, left, with his wife, Jessica Walter, at the Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

(Newser) – Actor Ron Leibman, who appeared in movies, theater, and TV in a career that spanned six decades and won a Tony award for Tony Kushner's iconic play Angels in America, has died after an illness, the AP reports. He was 82. Leibman's agent, Robert Attermann, said the actor died Friday. He gave no further details, but a person who knew the actor said the cause was pneumonia. In his lengthy career, Leibman played a huge variety of roles, both dramatic and comic. He appeared in numerous films, including Norma Rae, opposite Sally Field, and Slaughterhouse-Five. He won an Emmy award in 1979 for the short-lived CBS series Kaz, which he also created. He was perhaps best known on TV, however, for his role on Friends, on which he played Dr. Leonard Green, the father of Rachel, played by Jennifer Aniston.

He picked up a Tony in 1993 for his performance as conservative lawyer Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, per Variety. Leibman, who was born Oct. 11, 1937, in New York and attended Ohio Wesleyan University, started his acting career in 1956 on the soap opera The Edge of Night, moving on to his first movie, the comedy Where's Poppa?, in 1970. Leibman was married from 1969 to 1981 to actress Linda Lavin of Alice fame. He'd been married to Arrested Development actress Jessica Walter since 1983. He's survived by Walter and his stepdaughter, TV executive Brooke Bowman. (Read more obituary stories.)

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