‘The Goldbergs’ Series Finale: Wendi McLendon-Covey Shares Bittersweet Memories of George Segal and Watching TV Son Grow Up (Video)

And if you’re curious what the actress thought of those crazy sweaters and stiff blond wigs, she gives TheWrap the scoop

Ten seasons of “The Goldbergs” comes to an end Wednesday night. Ten seasons of ‘80s music, movies and fads. Ten years of Beverly Goldberg’s big, overly sprayed hair that couldn’t move in a tornado, of her bedazzled sweaters, and affectionately calling her kids “schmoopie” or “boopie” while strangling them with death-grip hugs. Ending.

The one-of-a-kind actress who has so endearingly played Bev all those years, Wendi McLendon-Covey, sat down with TheWrap to share what it’s like to say goodbye to her work home after a decade.

“You really have to be grateful for what you have and don’t squander an amazing opportunity and every day just be in the moment and take it all in,” McLendon-Covey said. “And I really, I feel like I did that for most of it. Because things like this don’t come around all the time.

THEWRAP: The whole cast always looked like you were all having so much fun.

Wendi McLendon-Covey: There are times when I got the church giggles so badly. You know, sometimes people ask, how do you keep a straight face? I can’t. Sometimes I’m the worst when it comes to breaking, but that just makes you more and more happy to be at work, you know?

It’s been very sweet watching Sean Giambrone (Adam) grow up through the years. How was that for you playing his mother and seeing him growing into an adult? Did you have like a maternal connection?

McLendon-Covey: Oh yeah. And I think we all felt that way … every, every cast member, every crew member, we always looked out for Sean. Because he was such a sweet special little dude that we could not fathom the thought of him being corrupted in any way, so we would … really try to be careful with him because we were working long hours and Sean, obviously, could only work a set number of hours, but in that day, in part of his duties, were going to school between takes. That’s a lot to put on a person. And he never got upset. He never threw a tantrum. He never seemed tired. He was always polite. He was always “please” and “thank you.” It was like, “Don’t ever change!” … And when his voice started to change, there would be these snarky comments on social media, and I would get so pissed off. And I would throw it right back at those people sometimes, which, you know, is that really what anyone needs me to do? But I felt like I needed to. … I know I’m not this kid’s mother really, but I do feel protective of him.

Wendi McLendon-Covey (L) and Sean Giambrone speak onstage during the “The Goldbergs” panel discussion at the Disney/ABC Television Group portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 4, 2013

I want to ask you about George Segal’s (Pops) death.

McLendon-Covey: We’d been shooting during COVID and he had had so many close calls, but he kept getting through it, you know. Like there was a fire up by his house. He was living in Santa Rosa, and so we would either have someone drive him down or fly him down every couple of weeks so we could just shoot everything with him. And so there was a fire and he got through that. And then there was COVID and he got through that. And then I think there was another malady, and he got through that. His wife got really sick. We got through that. He went and had surgery. He got through that. And then it was, “Oh, George is gone.” And it felt like the floor came out from under us. And we were shooting on the beach the day we found out –we were shooting at the Goldberg’s beach house. And so it was a weird day where we were all together at the beach. And that’s where we were when we found out. And it was devastating. And there were immediate tears and immediate like, “What are we even doing? What are we doing?” …  Sean and I, like maybe two weeks prior, had had a night where we had George all to ourselves. And he was very talkative that night, and he was just telling us stories and telling us stories. And I look back and [know] how lucky were we that we had him to ourselves that night? And that was the last time we saw him.

Wendi McLendon-Covey (L) and George Segal attend ‘The Goldbergs’ press event held at the Moonlight Rollerway in September 2014

Did you have Beverly Goldberg hair in the ‘80s?

McLendon-Covey: Perms were a big thing and you wanted to have your hair just as dried out as it could possibly get, as crunchy as it could get. And blondes don’t take perms very well, so I could never get that spiral curl that was so popular. So I had to use those pink rollers. Sometimes I would show up to school in my cheerleading outfit for a period before school in my rollers, looking so glamorous.

One of her wigs now has permanent residence in your house now.

McLendon-Covey: The wig is sitting in my dressing room here at home. Yeah. I’ve got a few wigs from different things. So I have my wig lineup and she’s there and she will sit there. She’s very delicate at this point. I’m afraid to take her off her wig head.

Beverly’s sweaters — did you ever look at one of her outfits and go, “I really don’t want to put that on, but I’m going to”?

McLendon-Covey: I just kind of made it OK in my mind. Like, look every day you’re gonna open that closet and it’s gonna be something that you don’t wanna put on because it’s either itchy or ridiculous and you just do it. It’s what the character would wear. And that is how all the moms that I knew in the ‘80s dressed. So there was only one time when I said, “Please, why do you hate me?” … It was like these Miss Piggy pink overalls.

How were the 1980s for you, personally?

I was going through middle school. I graduated high school in ’87, and I really thought that we had arrived, like the ‘80s were as good as it was ever gonna get for anything. The technology, we thought was there, you know? Those big brick size cell phones. … The music was the best. The movies were the best. There was just an optimism about the ‘80s that we don’t have now because we have 24-hour news, so there’s something to bum you out constantly. But back then we didn’t have to know every stupid thing that was going on. … So it those were happy times, I guess. But now living, living through the ‘80s, twice now, I’ve had enough.