The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (2023)

By Katy Rath


The Goldbergs is based on the life of series creator Adam F. Goldberg. Here's what each main character looks like in real life compared to the show.

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (1)

ABC's hit family sitcom The Goldbergs is a loose biographical retelling of Adam F. Goldberg's early years growing up with his family in the 1980s — here's what each character looks like compared to the real Goldberg family. From the first season of The Goldbergs the show creator, Adam F. Goldberg (who the main character is based on) has made sure to include audiences in on some of the more carefree moments of growing up. He does this by providing footage at the end of each episode, along with the occasional interview, of the true story that provided inspiration for the installment. Viewers get to see the real Goldbergs and gain insight into how the show matches the true story. It's a unique way to draw audiences in that hasn't been encountered often in the world of sitcoms.


After George Segal's tragic death, season 9 of The Goldbergs paid a heartwarming tribute to the actor who played Albert "Pops" Solomon. Though that's not the only issue season 9 had to face. Jeff Garlin's exit from the show has been tinged with controversy. The actor, who plays Murray Goldberg, has had multiple misconduct allegations, and according to Variety he trashed the series in a comedy show just days before his exit. Season 10 is less than about halfway through airing and audiences are starting to wonder if it will be The Goldbergs final run. There's no word as yet whether the show will get an 11th season. However, Black-ish, another ABC show that has often been paired with The Goldbergs, is ending after its 8th season, which may be foreshadowing The Goldbergs sooner-than-expected completion.


Between Jeff Garlin's exit from The Goldbergs and George Segal's passing, viewers are starting to focus in on the true story behind the series. Since the real-life Adam F. Goldberg included a ton of footage in The Goldbergs over the years, audiences can easily connect the dots between how the characters and the real Goldbergs act and react. That being said, the clips are from a 1980s camcorder in a family home and therefore, grainy and difficult to track. Comparing how each character looks with the real Goldberg family is somewhat hard for casual watchers. Not to fear, here's a glimpse behind The Goldbergs' true story and what each character looks like in real life during that time period.

Sean Giambrone As Adam Goldberg

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (2)

Sean Giambrone of the Solar Opposites cast plays Adam F. Goldberg in The Goldbergs. The youngest of the family, Adam has a deep interest in films and topical movies of the time such as The Goonies, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. As shown above, Sean Giambrone does differ from the real Goldbergs at that time. For instance, Giambrone is a blonde whereas Adam is a brunette. As well, the show's Adam wears glasses nearly all of the time, whereas the real-life one is shown often both with or without large coke-bottle glasses. That being said, the two boys are relatively the same size and stature. Based on the video footage of the real Goldberg family, Giambrone does a great job of copying the real Adam F. Goldberg's personality and mannerisms, despite the noticeable aesthetic differences.

Troy Gentile as Barry Goldberg

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (3)

Troy Gentile got a comeback from his child-star days to play Barry Goldberg in The Goldbergs. Among the many pop-culture tributes The Goldbergs makes, one of the biggest ones for Barry is starting a Beastie-Boys type band and calling himself "Big Tasty." When comparing the cast to their true inspirations, Troy bears one of the more similar resemblances as the titular chaotic middle child. While the real-life Barry Goldberg has straighter hair and a fairer complexion, their facial structures are reminiscent of one another. His costuming is particularly accurate and Troy brings his own comedic flair to the character. There's a fair amount of footage of the true Barry to know that Troy Gentile does a stand-up job of portraying the boisterous sibling.

Hayley Orrantia as Erica (Eric) Goldberg

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (4)

The biggest change that The Goldbergs made to the portrayal of their real-life family was changing the eldest brother Eric Goldberg into Hayley Orrantia's Erica Goldberg. Hayley Orrantia got to act alongside music superstar Rick Springfield in his The Goldbergs cameo while trying to further Erica's musical ambitions by working at a new karaoke bar. There's obviously the biggest physical difference between Erica Goldberg and her real-life counterpart Eric Goldberg, though many of her storylines are taken from Eric's life. While the real Eric Goldberg had no musical ambitions (he became a doctor like most of the family), stories like breaking into a pool, stealing a knish, and getting arrested for it came from Eric's real life. Erica Goldberg beats up on her brothers in a similar way to the real eldest child and Hayley Orrantia's performance as the mostly real characterization stands out.

Related: The Conners Finally Acknowledged Dan Moving Past Roseanne (Sort of)

Wendi McLendon-Covey as Beverly Goldberg

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (5)

Wendi McLendon-Covey is one of the more familiar faces featured on The Goldbergs. Her resemblance to the real-life matriarch Beverly Goldberg is particularly striking. The Bridesmaids star looks very similar to the actual Beverly Goldberg and based on stories from Adam F. Goldberg her portrayal of the mom is eerily accurate. Of course, McLendon-Covey brings her own unique brand of over-the-top comedic stylings to the role, which may exaggerate the real Beverly Goldberg. The Goldberg matriarch is pretty active on Twitter. Her bio includes things like "Smother of 3" and "professional guilter." It seems that McLendon-Covey's portrayal of the true Beverly Goldberg is accurate both in terms of appearance and personality.

Jeff Garlin as Murray Goldberg

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (6)

Despite the controversy surrounding Jeff Garlin, the actor had a funny eight-season run on The Goldbergs as patriarch and lovable curmudgeon Murray Goldberg. Though Murray is a used-furniture salesman on the show, the real-life Murray became a doctor and only sold used furniture during his college days. The Curb Your Enthusiasm star who plays Jeff in the Larry David show does look like his real-life counterpart — especially after his major weight loss. The two have a similar bone structure in their faces and their statures are comparable. The real Murray isn't featured as much as other characters in Adam F. Goldberg's footage. When he is there, though, it does give the impression that Jeff Garlin's performance as the grumpy dad is on point.

George Segal as Albert "Pops" Solomon

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (7)

George Segal's tragic passing occurred when Adam's character is in high school, though the real Albert "Pops" Solomon passed when Adam was in college. George Segal plays the heartwarming yet lewd grandfather in The Goldbergs. Beverly's father lives in the home with the family and sometimes ends up being Adam's best friend. George Segal had a brief stint on Entourage, another show inspired by real life, and looks pretty similar to the real Albert Solomon. The glasses featured in the photo above also appear in the show a couple of times. Out of everyone in the cast, George Segal looks the most similar to his real-life counterpart. The relationship between Adam and his grandfather is a highlight of the show, so the real Adam and Albert must've had the same meaningful relationship while he was growing up.

What The Goldbergs Changed From Real Life

The Goldbergs True Story: What Each Character Looks Like In Real-Life (8)

To keep the show's stories moving, The Goldbergs had to change certain elements from real life outside the major Eric to Erica switch. That being said, most of the major discrepancies are due to members of the cast no longer appearing on the show, namely George Segal's passing and Jeff Garlin's exit. One of the biggest changes that series creators made to the show involves the time period itself. Adam F. Goldberg was born on April 2, 1976. This means that his character actually started high school in 1990 rather than in the 1980s. This is a huge deviation for the show, which relies heavily on 80s nostalgia and references to keep people watching. While the trends of the 80s were still raging in the early 90s, knowing that "it was 1980-something" is technically untrue makes a bit of a difference. That being said, the series does reference certain cultural touchstones, like cars or popular phrases, that fall outside the 80s timeline.

Related: Everything That The Conners Season 5 Needs To Fix

According to Forward, Adam F. Goldberg also admitted that the show depicts his family differently than how they act in real-life — they're notably tamer in the series. In fact, changes were made to how the Goldbergs interacted with each other after the family apparently pushed back on their characterizations in season 1. It's true that the real Goldbergs were a family that had overbearing parents and often fought and cursed at one another. This was much more accurately depicted by the characters during The Goldbergs season 1, but the Goldberg family was made much tamer as the series went on to address the real family's feedback. Outside these changes, other slight adjustments were made, such as the fact that Murray worked at a furniture store in college then went on to become a doctor, and Pops died while Adam was in college rather than high school.

What the real-life Goldbergs look like compared to their cast of doppelgängers provides a lot of interesting discussion among viewers. It's entertaining to see how most of the characters are comparable to their inspirations, while others deviate significantly, like Hayley Orrantia's Erica Goldberg. Throughout season 10 of The Goldbergs and beyond, viewers can expect more real-life family footage and make their own comparisons between the inspirations behind the show and their onscreen counterparts.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated: 12/19/2022

Views: 5313

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (44 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.