Jack Klugman, slovenly half of the 'Odd Couple', dies


Emmy-winning actor Jack Klugman, a versatile, raspy-voiced mainstay of US television during the 1970s and early 1980s through his starring roles in The Odd Couple and Quincy, ME, died on Christmas Eve at the age of 90.

Klugman, whose pairing with Tony Randall on The Odd Couple created one of television’s most memorable duos, died at his home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, following a period of declining health, according to his son, Adam Klugman.

“He went very suddenly and peacefully . . . he was there one minute and gone the next,” the actor’s son said. His father had “been in convalescent mode for a while”.

He said his father had lost his ability to walk and spent much of his time in bed. His wife of 4½ years, Peggy Crosby, former daughter-in-law of the late singer Bing Crosby, was with him when he died, his son said.

Klugman also enjoyed a healthy stage career as well as in movies and made successful forays into horse breeding and political activism.

He gained fame for playing slovenly sports writer Oscar Madison in the sitcom The Odd Couple – a role he also had played on Broadway – and then as a crusading coroner in the crime drama Quincy, ME.

The Odd Couple, based on Neil Simon’s play about two disparate divorced men forced to share an apartment, ran for five years on the ABC network, starting in 1970, but was never a hit in that time.

Only through reruns did Klugman and co-star Randall, who played neat-freak Felix Unger, leave their mark as one of US TV’s great sitcom teams.

“We had wonderful respect for one another, we liked working together but we never became friends,” Klugman said. “I think that was on account of me. I was withdrawn. I never let anybody get too close.” – (Reuters)