Jack Klugman Passes Away At 90

Klugman and Randall

Jack Klugman, best known for two series, The Odd Couple and Quincy M.E. has passed away at the age of 90, with his wife by his side.  Klugman played the sloppy sportscaster opposite Tony Randall who played the Neat fanatic photographer in The Odd Couple. The show ran from 1970 to 1975 and was based on the Neil Simon play and Movie which starred Walter Matthau and Art Carney on Broadway.  Matthau also starred in the movie, opposite Jack Lemmon.  Although a great movie, nothing came close to the magic Klugman and Randall made on the small screen.  There are a number of sitcoms that will go down in the annals of history and The Odd Couple is one of those shows.  Their comic timing was perfect and each show was hilarious from start to finish.  Although constantly at each other on the show, in real life they were best of friends. When Tony Randall died in 2004 Klugman told CNN, “A world without Tony Randall is a world that I cannot recognize.”  After the Odd Couple ended, Klugman starred in Quincy M.E.  It was on the air for eight seasons; from 1976 to 1983.  The show was a hit primarily due to its leading actor, Klugman, who was brilliant in the role.  In a 1987 interview with the Associated Press he spoke about the show, “Everybody said, Quincy‘ll never be a hit.’ I said, ‘You guys are wrong. He’s two heroes in one, a cop and a doctor.’ A coroner has power. He can tell the police commissioner to investigate a murder. I saw the opportunity to do what I’d gotten into the theater to do — give a message.”  He also made cameo appearances in shows like the Twilight Zone.  In one episode, he played a down and out pool shark who bets a deceased pool shark played by Jonathan Winters, that he could beat him at a game of pool.  Klugman was born in South Philadelphia on April 22, 1922 to poor, Russian, Jewish immigrants.  He served in the army during World War II and started his acting career after he was discharged, at the Carnegie Institute of Technology.  He found work at Summer Stock and off-Broadway, rooming with fellow aspiring actor, Charles Bronson, who was also looking for a paying job.  He made his Broadway debut in a 1952 revival of Golden Boy.  In 1974 Klugman was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx and underwent surgery, which was successful.  However, in 1989 he underwent another cancer surgery, and this time, doctors had to remove his right vocal cord.   He eventually regained the ability to speak, by hard work and fortitude, albeit with a raspy voice.  Actors like Klugman are leaving us at an alarming rate and they can not and will not ever be replaced.

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