Actor Best Known For His Roles In ‘Elf’ And ‘Barton Fink’ Dies At 81

s_bukley via Deposit Photos

Actor Michael Lerner is best know for roles including the demanding boss at the publishing company in the movie “Elf,” and the demanding studio boss in “Barton Fink,” a role that earned him an Oscar nomination in 1991.

Acting seems to run in the family because Michael’s nephew, Sam Lerner, is an actor on the sitcom “The Goldbergs.” On April 9, 2023, Sam took to Instagram to announce the sad news that his uncle has died. Michael was 81 years old.

In the post, Sam shared a series of pictures of his late uncle along with a lengthy, heartfelt tribute. He wrote, “We lost a legend last night. 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 continued to praise his uncle, writing, “He was the coolest, most confident, talented guy, and the fact that he was my blood will always make me feel special.”

Sam continued, “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.”

Sam ended the post by writing directly to his uncle. He told him, “RIP Michael, enjoy your unlimited Cuban cigars, comfy chairs, and endless movie marathon.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sam Lerner (@samlerner)

Condolences poured in from friends and fans in the comments section. Actress Melissa Joan Hart wrote, “Sending you love! I’m so sorry for loss.”

Actress Mindy Sterling wrote, “Sam I know it’s tough I also no how proud you were of him. Sending love to you and your family and especially your dad.”

Amy Roberts wrote, “Michael was my father’s roommate at Berkeley and visited Brooklyn with Michael in the 60’s. My Dad told stories about him and was happy when he was nominated for an Oscar.”

Besides his roles in “Elf” and “Barton Fink,” Michael also acted in a variety of other movies and TV series throughout his career including starting in the 1960s with his most recent film credit in 2022 for “Pervyy Oscar.” Other credits include “The Doris Day Show,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “The Rockford Files,” “Hart to Hart,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Courthouse,” “Clueless,” “Godzilla,” and “Glee.”

A cause of death has yet to be disclosed.

Rest in peace.