herald

Friday 31 October 2014

Odd Couple actor Jack Klugman dies at 90

JACK Klugman, who played the sports-loving, slobby-living Oscar Madison on television and stage in The Odd Couple across from his close friend Tony Randall, has died. He was 90.

KLUGMAN died yesterday in Los Angeles. He had surgery for throat cancer in 1989, then worked to rehabilitate his acting voice.

Raised in a rough Philadelphia neighbourhood, Klugman carried a no-nonsense persona into roles as an agonised juror in the movie 12 Angry Men, as a headstrong medical examiner in the TV series Quincy, M.E. and, most famously, as half of The Odd Couple, which ran on ABC from 1970 to 1975.

Klugman played the divorced, cigar-chomping, laundry-tossing sports columnist who, in a moment of charity, opened his apartment to his precise, finicky, hypochondriac photographer friend, Felix Unger, who needs a home after being thrown out by his wife.

They clashed -- over women and money, food and furniture, habits and style -- through five seasons and 114 episodes.

For each of the five seasons of The Odd Couple, Klugman and Randall both received nominations for Emmy awards as best leading actor. Klugman won in 1971 and 1973; Randall won in 1975.

Jacob Klugman was born April 27, 1922, in Philadelphia, the youngest of six children. He was called 'Jake' while growing up in what he described as "a pretty tough neighbourhood".

"I was the only Jew in an all-Italian neighbourhood and spoke as if I had just left the company of Tony Soprano," he wrote in his memoir.

Klugman had two sons -- Adam and David -- with actress Brett Somers before the couple separated in 1974. Somers died in 2007. Klugman and his companion of 20 years, Peggy Crosby, married in February 2008.

hnews@herald.ie

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