(NEXSTAR) – Michael Lerner, the actor who starred in “Elf,” “Barton Fink,” and more, died over Easter weekend, his family said.
“We lost a legend last night,” wrote Sam Lerner, Michael’s nephew, in an Instagram post Sunday. “It’s hard to put into words how brilliant my uncle Michael was, and how influential he was to me. His stories always inspired me and made me fall in love with acting.”
Sam followed in his uncle’s footsteps and also became an actor, starring in the TV series “The Goldbergs.”
Michael Lerner’s career spanned 60 years. His first of his 183 acting credits on IMDb dates back to 1963.
He was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991 for his supporting role in “Barton Fink,” a Coen brothers dark comedy.
In 2003, Lerner starred in the Christmas comedy “Elf” opposite Will Ferrell and James Caan. Lerner played the short-tempered boss, Fulton Greenway.
In addition to his film roles, Lerner made dozens of appearances on hit TV shows, from “M*A*S*H” to “Starsky and Hutch” in the ’70s, “MacGyver” in 1985, the “Clueless” TV spinoff of the ’90s, and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in the 2000s. He even had a five-episode arc on the show “Glee” starting in 2013.
“He was the coolest, most confident, talented guy, and the fact that he was my blood will always make me feel special,” Sam wrote in the tribute to his late uncle. “Everyone that knows him knows how insane he was – in the best way. I’m so lucky I got to spend so much time with him, and we’re all lucky we can continue to watch his work for the rest of time.”
Michael Lerner was 81 years old.