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Jennifer Aniston's 'Friends' Dad Ron Leibman Dies At Age 82

Jennifer Aniston's Friends Dad Ron Leibman Dies
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Dec. 7 2019, Published 3:08 p.m. ET

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The actor who played Jennifer Aniston's on-screen father, Dr. Leonard Green, on Friends has died.

Ron Leibman reportedly passed away at age 82 on Friday, Dec. 6.

Two family representatives told The Hollywood Reporter that he'd died in New York City from pneumonia.

Leibman was best known for appearing on the hit NBC sitcom from 1996 to 2004, winning a Tony for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and starring opposite Sally Field in Norma Rae.

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His other TV credits included recurring roles in Archer, The Sopranos and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He also appeared in episodes of 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.

He thought “it sounded stupid,”but "I had a very nice time, and they asked me back, and my daughter did get to meet those Friends kids, so I was a big hero in the house. 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.'"

According to Variety, the New York native broke into the acting business in 1956 with the soap opera "The Edge of Night."

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He made his film debut in the 1970 movie Where's Poppa?, portrayed a prisoner of war in Slaughterhouse-Five and an NYPD officer in the 1974 movie The Super Cops.

Leibman was married to actress Linda Lavin, best known for the sitcom "Alice," from 1969 to 1981.

He is survived by his wife, Arrested Development actress Jessica Walter, and his stepdaughter, Brooke Bowman, a TV executive.

Actress Brenda Vaccaro, a longtime pal of both Leibman and Walter, played matchmaker, the two told PEOPLE in an interview years ago.

Leibman called Walter, whom he wed in in 1983, “this tall, sexy, intelligent woman who had this beautiful daughter.”

He was immediately attracted but said, “The fact that Jessie was an actress frightened me. I’d been married to an actress, and I understood the difficulties. I also knew I would be getting involved with two people, not just one. It scared me.

“I was too frightened to ask for a date,” Leibman said, but talked for two hours daily on the telephone to Walter until he invited her out for Chinese food.

Later in her car, he said, “I grabbed her and gave her a kissarooni.” “

They went on to have a long and happy marriage.

“He’s the most interesting person I’ve ever met,” Walter said.

“There are no axes to grind. Instead of fighting, we laugh at each other,” she said at the time.

Now she and her daughter are mourning Leibman's loss.

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