Ron Leibman, star of Phar Lap and Norma Rae, dies aged 82

Dec 08, 2019
Tributes have been paid to actor Ron Leibman (pictured here in 1979) as news of his death was confirmed by his agent. Source: Getty.

American actor Ron Leibman has passed away at the age of 82, it has been confirmed.

The Norma Rae star’s agent confirmed to multiple publications that the Tony Award winner died after contracting pneumonia, reports the BBC.

“Ron was an incredibly talented actor with a distinguished career in film, TV and theatre,” his agent said in a statement, shared with the news outlet. “Our thoughts go out to his wife, Jessica (Walter), and his family.”

The distinguished actor will be best remembered by younger audiences for his long-starring role in hit US sitcom Friends, in which he played Dr Leonard Green, the father of Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel Green.

He has also starred alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Sally Field in 1979’s Norma Rae, in which he played union rep Reuben. He is also known among Australian viewers for his part as Dave Davis in 1983 movie Phar Lap.

Tributes flooded in for the actor on social media, with Sally Field writing: “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.”

Illeana Douglas, who starred alongside Ron in the movie Dummy, wrote: “Ron Leibman and Jessica Walters 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.”

While talent agency Abrams Artists Agency posted on Instragam: “We are deeply saddened to share the news of Ron Leibman’s passing. He was an incredibly talented actor with a distinguished career in film, TV and theater, which spanned more than six decades.⁠

“Ron began his television career in 1956 as Johnny in ‘The Edge of the Night’ and later appeared on Broadway during the 1960s. He was awarded an Emmy in 1979 for his lead role in the drama ‘Kaz’, and a Tony Award in 1993 for his performance as Roy Cohn in ‘Angels in America: Millennium Approaches’.Our thoughts go out to Ron’s wife, Jessica, and his family.⁠”

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