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Barton Fink star Michael Lerner dies age 81, remembered as 'coolest, most confident, talented guy'

Michael Lerner died on April 8, 2023, at the age of 81. (AP: Jordan Strauss/Invision for Geffen)

Academy Award nominated actor Michael Lerner, most famous for his role in Barton Fink, has died aged 81.

His death was announced by his nephew, Sam Lerner, on Instagram. 

"We lost a legend last night," Sam wrote. 

"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 described the actor as the "coolest, most confident, talented guy". 

"The fact that he was my blood will always make me feel special," he said.

"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."

Lerner, born in Brooklyn in 1941, starred in numerous films and television shows throughout his career including Godzilla, Elf and Harlem Nights. 

The American actor was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jack Lipnick in Barton Fink in 1991.

Lerner made his film debut in Alex in Wonderland in 1970, following guest appearances on television shows such as The Brady Bunch, The Odd Couple and M*A*S*H. 

American television writer, Alan Zweibel who worked with Lerner, described him as "a great, disciplined actor" on twitter.

Actor Saverio Guerra also paid his respects describing Lerner as a "talented man".

Lerner is survived by his brother Ken Lerner. 

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