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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Jamie Roberts

Elf and Barton Fink star Michael Lerner dies as family pays touching tribute

Michael Lerner has died at the age of 81, his family has announced in an emotional tribute.

The actor was best known for playing the hard-faced boss to James Caan's character on hit Christmas movie, Elf, starring Will Ferrell, but his career had spanned decades.

Nephew Sam Lerner, who starred on The Goldbergs, wrote 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."

As well as Elf, in which Michael's character demanded the next big kids' book, he starred on the big screen in flicks such as Barton Fink and Godzilla.

He also starred in Blank Check, Harlem Nights and For Richer or Poorer.

On the small screen, he took roles in the likes of MASH, Starsky and Hutch, The Brady Bunch, The Rockford Files and Hill Street Blues.

A number of famous faces took to Sam's post to pay their respects to the star.

Michael Glaser and Michael Lerner in Starsky and Hutch in 1975 (Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Disney star Logan Miller wrote: "Absolute legend. Sorry for your loss my friend."

Improv actress Wendi McLendon-Covey also said: "I'm so sorry! Sending love to you and your family."

And fans on Twitter also shared their messages following the news.

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."

Another penned: "Another great name from future film credits gone. RIP the brilliant, extremely versatile Michael Lerner."

He is survived by famous brother Ken and his extended family.

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