Emmy-Winning Actor Ron Leibman Who Played Rachel Green's Dad on Friends Dies at 82
Leibman died on Friday after battling pneumonia, The Hollywood Reporter reported. His rep did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
While known for his role as the mean dad of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) on Friends in the 1990s and early 2000s, Leibman initially turned down the spot on the beloved sitcom.
“I had never seen the show when they asked me to do it,” Leibman said in an interview with the A.V. Club published in 2011. “I’m not a big television-watcher. It sounded stupid to me, so I turned it down.”
But Leibman’s daughter, who was a fan of Friends, changed his mind.
“I said, ‘All right. I’ll do it. I’ll do it once, but that’s all I’m doing.’ So I did, and 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,” he explained, noting that his role as Dr. Green is probably his most well-recognized from his decades-long career.
“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,'” he said.
Leibman’s body of work indeed includes many other TV, movie and theater roles.
In 1979, Leibman earned an Emmy Award for his role as Martin “Kaz” Kazinsky in the CBS series Kaz, which he co-created. In the drama, Leibman played the titular character, a car thief-turned-criminal attorney.
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“Short-lived, well-remembered,” he said of the show, which was canceled after 23 episodes, to the A.V. Club. “I’m sitting at my desk now, and there’s an Emmy award right in front of me that I got from that. I got an Emmy, and the show was canceled two weeks later. What a business, huh?”
The New York native was also nominated for a Golden Globe in 1987 for his supporting role in the TV movie Christmas Eve.
In addition to his career on television, Leibman was also a theater actor and took home a Tony Award in 1993.
For the winning performance, Leibman portrayed a fictional version of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel Roy Cohn in Angels in America: Millenium Approaches, which won a Pulitzer Prize.
He’s also appeared in notable movies like Norma Rae, Slaughterhouse Five and Where’s Poppa? His most recent role was the voice of Ron Cadillac on Archer.
Leibman is survived by his wife Jessica Walter, THR reported.