Elf and Clueless star Michael Lerner dies aged 81

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Oscar-nominated actor Michael Lerner has died aged 81, his nephew has announced.

Lerner, originally from Brooklyn, New York City, was known for starring in television shows such as Clueless and Glee as well as big-budget films such as Elf and X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

He earned his Academy Award nomination for his performance as film producer Jack Lipnick in the Coen brothers’ psychological thriller Barton Fink.

In the 1991 film he starred alongside John Turturro, who played a renowned New York playwright who is enticed to California to write for the movies with disastrous consequences.

Lerner died on Saturday evening, his nephew, The Goldbergs actor Sam Lerner, said in a tribute on Instagram.

Posting a photo of his uncle, he wrote: “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(s).”

Tributes came from people who had worked with Lerner throughout his career.

Canadian actor Nolan Gerard Funk, who appeared in Glee as Hunter Clarington, said: “I’m so sorry Sam.”

The Goldbergs actress Wendi McLendon-Covey wrote: “I’m so sorry! Sending love to you and your family.”

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