Lifestyle & Human Interest

Tony Award-Winning Actor Ron Leibman Dead at Age 82


Ron Leibman, the Tony Award-winning actor whose career spanned over six decades in film, television and theater, has died. He was 82.

Leibman died Dec. 6 in Manhattan as the result of pneumonia, The New York Times reported.

The versatile actor was famously known for his performance of Roy Cohn in the original Broadway production of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.” In 1993, Liebman won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the role of Roy Cohn, a highlight of his career.

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Liebman made his movie debut in 1970 in the comedy “Where’s Poppa?” Variety reported.

The actor was also known for his portrayal of a prisoner of war in “Slaughterhouse-Five,” and for his role in 1979’s “Norma Rae,” in which he starred opposite Sally Field.

Other film credits include “The Hot Rock,” “The Super Cops,” “Your Three Minutes Are Up,” “Rhinestone,” “Night Falls on Manhattan,” “Auto Focus” and “Garden State.”


Leibman began his career as a stage actor, according to The New York Times, and made his Broadway debut in 1963 in the comedy “Dear Me, the Sky Is Falling.”

He went on to act in other Broadway productions, including “The Deputy,” “Bicycle Ride to Nevada,” “Cop-Out,” and “Rumors.”

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Younger audiences were drawn to Liebman’s recurring guest role on several episodes of television’s “Friends,” in which he played Dr. Leonard Green, the father of Jennifer Aniston’s character Rachel Green.

According to a 2011 interview with AV Club, Leibman was reluctant to accept the role because he had never seen “Friends,” and thought the show “sounded stupid,” but did so at the pleading of his stepdaughter, Brooke Bowman.

“It’s amazing, the power of the tube,” Leibman said. “I’ve done all this body of work, and they say, ‘Oh yes, Rachel’s father.’ I go, ‘Give me a break.’”

Leibman is survived by his wife, actress Jessica Walter, in addition to Bowman.

“We at Abrams Artists Agency are saddened to hear the news of Ron’s passing,” the actor’s rep, Robert Attermann, told Fox News in a statement. “Ron was an incredibly talented actor with a distinguished career in film, TV and theater. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Jessica, and his family.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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