Michael Lerner, actor of 'Barton Fink' and 'Elf', has died aged 81

Michael Lerner, a veteran character actor who received an Oscar nomination for his performance as the cocky studio head in the 1991 film “Barton Fink,” has died, his nephew, actor Sam Lerner, announced in a social media post. He is 81 years old.

“We lost a legend last night,” Sam Lerner wrote in an Instagram post on Sunday. “It's hard to put into words how brilliant my uncle Michael was, and how influential he was to me. His stories have always inspired me and made me fall in love with acting. He was the coolest, most confident, talented guy, and the fact that he is my blood will always make me feel special. Everyone who knows him knows how crazy he is- in the best way. I'm so lucky to have spent so much time with him, and we're all lucky to be able to keep watching his work for the rest of the time. RIP Michael, enjoy a cigar Unlimited Cuba, comfortable seats and endless movie marathons.”

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There were no further details about Lerner's death. CNN has reached out to representatives for Michael and Sam Lerner for further comment.

With film and television credits dating back to the 1960s, Lerner's Hollywood career spanned decades. Her earliest work throughout the 60s and 70s included appearances on television shows such as “The Doris Day Show,” “The Bob Newhart Show” and “M*A*S*H.”

His first film came in 1970 as the character Leo in “Alex in Wonderland” alongside Donald Sutherland and Ellen Burstyn. Lerner went on to appear in films such as “The Ski Bum”, “The Candidate”, and “Outlaw Blues”.

The actor appeared in several episodes of “Hill Street Blues” and “Melba” in the mid-80s before he starred in “Barton Fink” in 1991. His appearance was studio executive Jack Lipnick, which he starred with John Turturro, John Goodman and Judy Davis , earning him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor.

This story is growing and will be updated.

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