Wendi McLendon-Covey Says The Goldbergs Will Have a 'Funny' Tribute to Late George Segal
The Goldbergs will pay tribute to late actor George Segal in its season 9 premiere episode.
During the Television Critics Association press tour Thursday, series star Wendi McLendon-Covey revealed that the ABC comedy will honor Segal, who died of complications from a bypass surgery earlier this year in March. He was 87.
The show was unable to pay tribute to Segal in season 8 due to production being wrapped in the days following his death. The actor portrayed the role of Albert "Pops" Solomon on the show.
"He passed away two days before we wrapped for the season, so we couldn't address it," McLendon-Covey, 51, said, according to Deadline. "Our first episode of season 9 — it's tradition every time we open a season, it's always a movie tribute — so I gotta hand it to our writers that we are doing a movie tribute that actually takes us on the journey of where to spread Pops' ashes."
"So it is not only a traditional tribute, but it's hysterically funny," the actress added without noting which film the show would be paying homage to. (Previous films the series has parodied include Vacation and Airplane!)
Back in March, Segal's wife Sonia confirmed the news of his death in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. "The family is devastated to announce that this morning George Segal passed away due to complications from bypass surgery," she said at the time.
Segal's acting credits spanned decades, beginning in the 1960s. He was best known for his roles in films including Ship of Fools, Where's Poppa?, Blume in Love, For the Boys, King Rat and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — the performance that earned him an Oscar nomination.
In addition to The Goldbergs, Segal also made numerous guest appearances over the years on several other television shows, including Entourage, Boston Legal, Private Practice and Pushing Daisies.
He also won two Golden Globes, once for most promising newcomer (a since-discontinued award) in 1965 for the film The New Interns, and once for his performance in the romantic comedy A Touch of Class in 1974.
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In a statement to PEOPLE in March, the cast and crew of The Goldbergs said they were "devastated at the loss of our dear friend, George."
"He was kind, sweet, beyond talented and funny. George was the true epitome of class and he touched all of our lives so deeply," the statement read. "It was an honor and a privilege to have him as a colleague and friend all of these years. It is no surprise to any of us that knew him so well that he is a true national treasure. He will be missed by all. POPS, we will miss your banjo playing and your infectious laugh."
In a statement to PEOPLE, ABC Entertainment said Segal's "talent has left an indelible mark and we're grateful for the laughter and joy he has given us all. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with his wife, Sonia, and his family during this difficult time."