The Odd Couple ‘s Jack Klugman Dead At Age 90
Jack Klugman, who played the messy sports writer on the classic 1970’s sitcom The Odd Couple, passed away on Christmas Eve at age 90. Klugman was also the last surviving cast member of the acclaimed film 12 Angry Men.
Jacob Klugman, a veteran of the days of live television, was born April 22, 1922 in Philadelphia as the youngest of six children. Klugman grew up in a rough Philadelphia neighborhood and brought that experience as a juror from the wrong side of the tracks in 12 Angry Man, which costarred Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Jack Warden and George C. Scott.
Klugman apperared in countless live television programs during the 1950’s, several of which were written by Rod Serling. Klugman would later appear in four episodes of Serling’s groundbreaking series The Twilight Zone, more than any other actor. This included the classic episodes “A Passage for Trumpet” and “A Game of Pool”.
However, it was Klugman’s role as the sloppy Oscar Madison, along side neat freak Felix Unger played by Tony Randall, that made the actor a household name. Surprisingly, the role that would bring Klugman two Emmys for Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series almost went to the actor’s 12 Angry Man costar Martin Balsam. ABC didn’t believe that Klugman was right for the role and executive producer Garry Marshall had to fight for him.
The Odd Couple ran for five seasons despite poor ratings and became a standard in reruns. A year after the cancellation of the sitcom, Klugman became the star of the medical drama Quincy, M.E., which ran from 1976 to 1983 and won Klugman several more Emmys.
Klugman was married to actress Brett Somers and had two sons-David and Adam-before the couple were divorced in 1974. Somers also appeared in several episodes of The Odd Couple as ironically Oscar’s ex-wife. In 2008, Klugman married his longtime girlfriend Peggy Crosby. Jack Klugman is survived by his widow and sons.
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