Jack Klugman: 'The Odd Couple' Actor Dead at 90

Jack Klugman The Odd Couple Tony Randall
Jack Klugman and Tony RandallThe Odd Couple.

Jack Klugman dead at 90: 'The Odd Couple' & 'Quincy M.E.' actor

Jack Klugman, best known for the television series The Odd Couple and Quincy, M.E., died earlier today in Los Angeles. Klugman, born in Philadelphia on April 27, 1922, was 90. (Image: Tony Randall and Jack Klugman The Odd Couple.)

In The Odd Couple (1970-1975), based on the Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau 1968 movie hit (and Neil Simon play starring Matthau and Art Carney), Klugman played a sloppy sports writer, frequently sparring with his fussy roommate (Tony Randall). For his efforts, he won a Golden Globe and two Emmys, in addition to three Emmy nominations. In Quincy, M.E. (1976-1983), Klugman, in the title role, played a no-nonsense medical examiner, earning four Emmy nominations along the way.

According to the IMDb, Jack Klugman began his television career in 1950, appearing in the episode “The Timid Guy” for the anthology series Actor's Studio. Yul Brynner directed.

In the ensuing decades, Klugman was featured in dozens of television series and movies, ranging from Inner Sanctum and Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the '50s and '60s to The Outer Limits and Crossing Jordan in the early 2000s. Additionally, Klugman starred in the short-lived series Harris Against the World (1964-65).

Prior to his two Emmy wins for The Odd Couple, Klugman had already taken home an Emmy statuette for Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for The Defenders (1961).

Jack Klugman movies

Jack Klugman was featured in only a handful of movies: less than 20 in all, as per the IMDb. His first listed credit is the obscure Western Grubstake (1952); most recently, he was seen in Drew Daywalt's horror thriller Camera Obscura (2010).

But Klugman's film career wasn't restricted to B genre movies. He was one of the jurors in Sidney Lumet's Best Picture Academy Award nominee 12 Angry Men (1957), starring Henry Fonda; supported Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick in Blake Edwards' alcoholism drama Days of Wine and Roses (1962); supported Judy Garland (in her last film) and Dirk Bogarde in Ronald Neame's I Could Go on Singing (1963); and was Ali MacGraw's father Ben Patinkin – while leading man Richard Benjamin played a character named Neil Klugman – in Larry Peerce's Goodbye, Columbus (1969).

Klugman's other movie credits include supporting roles in MGM mogul-turned-director Dore Schary's Act One (1965), starring George Hamilton and Jason Robards; Gordon Douglas' The Detective (1968), starring Frank Sinatra and Lee Remick; and another Larry Peerce effort, the thriller Two-Minute Warning (1976), starring Charlton Heston and John Cassavetes.

Jack Klugman: cancer battle, marriages

As a result of throat cancer, Jack Klugman lost his voice in the '80s. After extensive speech therapy, he returned to acting in the short-lived 1993 Broadway revival of Three Men on a Horse, co-starring The Odd Couple's Tony Randall, plus Jerry Stiller, Ellen Greene, and Julie Hagerty.

Klugman's first wife was actress Brett Somers, who had a recurring role in The Odd Couple. They separated in the mid-'70s, but remained legally married until her death in 2007.

The following year, Klugman married Peggy Crosby, ex-wife of Bing Crosby's son Phillip Crosby. According to reports, Klugman and Peggy Crosby had been living together since 1988.

Tony Randall and Jack Klugman The Odd Couple photo: ABC.

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