West News Wire: Michael Lerner, who was most remembered for his appearances in “Godzilla,” “Elf,” and “Barton Fink,” has passed away. He was 81. 

Sam Lerner, who plays Lerner’s nephew on “The Goldbergs,” posted on Instagram on Sunday to confirm his passing. No specific cause of death was revealed. 

Sam posted a string of old pictures of Lerner along with the statement, “We lost a legend last night. It’s difficult to express how intelligent and influential my uncle Michael was to me. I’ve always been inspired by and in love with acting because of his stories. 

The fact that he was a member of my family will always make me feel unique. He was the coolest, most self-assured, and talented guy. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1941, Lerner made his acting debut with a guest role on the medical drama “Dr. Kildare” in 1963. He went on to appear in numerous television series in the following decades, such as “The Brady Bunch,” “The Odd Couple,” “The Rockford Files,” “The A-Team” and “Hill Street Blues.” 

Lerner’s big break in show business came when he landed the role of Jack Lipnick in the 1991 comedy thriller “Barton Fink,” co-starring John Turturro, John Goodman and Judy Davis. The role earned Lerner an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor in 1992. 

Following the success of “Barton Fink,” Lerner continued to appear in various films and TV series, including “Clueless,” “Godzilla,” “Elf,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Glee.” Lerner’s most recent role was in the Sergey Mokritskiy-directed war drama “Pervyy Oskar” in 2022. 

“Everyone that knows him knows how insane he was— in the best way,” Sam concluded his post. “I’m so lucky I got to spend so much time with him, and we’re all lucky we can continue to watch his work for the rest of time.” 


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