George Segal, actor and banjo player, has died at 87.

George Segal 1965George Segal died March 23. 2021 near his Santa Rosa, California home. He was perhaps best known for the broad scope of his television and movie acting credits from comedy to intense drama over his six decade career. However, aficionados remember his ragtime programs, recordings, and his banjo renditions of Scott Joplin’s compositions.

When he was not acting, Segal pursued his fascination with jazz and ragtime and fronted his band The Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band. Music played a large role in his life and he had popular bands while in college at Haverford and Columbia University (Bruno Lynch and his Imperial Jazz Band,) and while he was in the army (Corporal Bruno’s Sad Sack Six.) Segal played a 4-string banjo.

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His “Yama Yama Man” recording play list reminds me of an Ian Whitcomb album and his “A Touch of Ragtime” with his Imperial Jazz Band features Segal’s banjo stylings of Scott Joplin Compositions. He also is featured on a Canadian Brass album “Basin Street,” playing banjo.

A close friends, Buck Henry and many other ragtime fans and friends frequently gathered with Segal to play their old favorites. George was a popular late night television guest where he often brought his banjo and would burst into an old song. George Segal was 87.

Larry Melton was a founder of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in 1974 and the Sedalia Ragtime Archive in 1976. He was a Sedalia Chamber of Commerce manager before moving on to Union, Missouri where he is currently helping to conserve the Ragtime collection of the Sedalia Heritage Foundation. Write him at [email protected].

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