Ron Leibman, 'Friends' Actor Who Played Rachel's Father, Dead at 82

Ron Leibman, a prolific actor who won a Tony Award for his work in Angels in America and an Emmy for Kaz, died on Friday. Leibman, who was also known for playing the father of Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green on Friends, was 82 years old. Abrams Artists Agency CEO Robert Attermann confirmed the actor's death to Variety.

Two family representatives later told The Hollywood Reporter Leibman died in New York City from pneumonia.

The New York-born Leibman began his career in movies and television in the late 1950s. In 1979, he won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for playing the title character in Kaz. Although the series, in which he played a convict who became a criminal defense attorney, earned him the award, it was canceled after just one season.

Leibman later appeared in four episodes of Friends as Dr. Leonard Green. His other TV credits include recurring roles in Archer, The Sopranos and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He also appeared in episodes of Law & Order, The Practice and Murder, She Wrote. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for the 1986 TV movie Christmas Dove.

In a 2011 interview with The AV Club, Leibman said he first turned down the Friends role until his stepdaughter convinced him to take it because she wanted to meet the stars on the show.

"[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," Leibman said at the time. "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.'"

The actor made a handful of movie appearances as well. He had roles in Norma Rae, Up the Academy, Zorro: The Gay Blade, Rhinestone and Slaughterhouse-Five. His first film was Carl Reiner's 1970 dark comedy Where's Poppa?, co-starring George Segal and Ruth Gordon.

He began working on Broadway in 1963 with a role in Dear Me, The Sky Is Falling. He won back-to-back Drama Desk Awards for We Bombed in New Haven in 1969 and Transfers in 1970.

In 1993, Leibman won a Tony Award for playing a fictionalized version of lawyer Roy Cohn in Angels in America.

Leibman was married to Linda Lavin from 1969 to 1981, and married Arrested Development star Jessica Walter in 1983. His role on Archer was Ron Cadillac, the husband of Walter's Malory Archer.


In addition to Walter, he is survived by his stepdaughter, Brooke Bowman, a TV executive.

Photo credit: Bennett Raglin/WireImage/Getty Images