Ron Leibman — the movie, TV, and stage actor best known for his roles in Norma Rae, Friends, and Tony Kushner’s Broadway play, Angels in America — has died. The Tony Award-winning star passed away at age 82, reportedly from pneumonia, according to Yahoo! Lifestyle.
In addition to his 2003 Tony Award for Angels in America, the veteran actor won an Emmy award in 1979 for his starring role as Martin Kazinsky in the TV series Kaz. But television fans may best remember him as Dr. Leonard Green on the NBC sitcom Friends. Leibman played the hard-to-please dad of the Green sisters — Rachel, Jill, and Amy (played by Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Christina Applegate) — in four episodes of the Emmy-winning comedy from 1996 to 2004.
Fans may recall that Leibman’s Friends character despised her on-and-off boyfriend, Ross (David Schwimmer), and often gave him a hard time. While his role on Friends became a recurring part on the hit sitcom, in an interview with The AV Club, Leibman initially said “no” to the role as Dr. Green because he wasn’t familiar with the show.
“I had never seen the show when they asked me to do it,” Leibman in 2011. “I’m not a big television-watcher. It sounded stupid to me, so I turned it down.”
The actor revealed it was his daughter who convinced him to take the role because she was a superfan of the show and wanted to meet the Friends cast.
“I said, ‘All right. I’ll do it. I’ll do it once, but that’s all I’m doing,” the actor recalled. “I 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.'”
While he will always be remembered as a Friends dad, Leibman’s career spanned six decades and included everything from soap opera work on The Edge of Night to big-screen roles in Norma Rae and Slaughterhouse-Five. Leibman also logged roles on The Sopranos, Law & Order: SVU, and Murder, She Wrote, per IMDb. Leibman’s final role was in the animated spy comedy Archer, where he voiced the role of Ron Cadillac from 2013 to 2016.
In his personal life, Leibman was married to Alice star Linda Lavin from 1969 to 1981. He wed Arrested Development actress Jessica Walter in 1983 and was married to her until his death.