Michael Lerner dead: Elf and Barton Fink star dies as family pays emotional tribute

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Michael Lerner, star of Elf and Barton Fink, has passed away at the age of 81.

Michael Lerner, who starred in the likes of Elf and Barton Fink, has died at the age of 81. His family announced his death in a touching tribute on Sunday night (April 9).

The actor was best known for playing the boss of James Caan’s character in the hit Christmas movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell. Lerner’s career spanned decades, with other roles including Jack Lipnick in Barton Fink, Mayor Ebert in Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla and Senator Brickman in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

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Announcing his uncle’s death, Lerner’s nephew Sam said on Instagram: “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. He was the coolest, most confident, talented guy, and the fact that he was my blood will always make me feel special. 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. RIP Michael, enjoy your unlimited Cuban cigars, comfy chairs, and endless movie marathon."

Aside from his major film roles, Lerner also starred in small screen shows including MASH, Starsky and Hutch, The Brady Bunch, The Rockford Files and Hill Street Blues.

Following the news, many stars have paid tribute to Lerner on the Instagram post. Disney star Logan Miller commented: "Absolute legend. Sorry for your loss my friend."

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Michael Lerner has passed away at the age of 81Michael Lerner has passed away at the age of 81
Michael Lerner has passed away at the age of 81 | Scott Gries/Getty Images

Actress Wendi McLendon-Covey wrote: "I’m so sorry! Sending love to you and your family."

Fans of the actor also paid their respects on Twitter. One user wrote:"R.I.P. Michael Lerner, the consummate professional character actor who did great work in too many movies, good or bad, to name. I treasure how the Coens had him bellow in Barton Fink and A Serious Man, and I adore him in Bigas Luna’s completely insane horror gem Anguish."

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