Thursday 25 December 2014

Celebrated actor from 'The Odd Couple' dies aged 90

Laurence Arnold

Published 26/12/2012 | 05:00

Jack Klugman, who played the sports-loving slob Oscar Madison on television and stage in 'The Odd Couple' has died. He was 90.

The actor, a resident of Malibu, California, died 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 agonized juror in the movie '12 Angry Men', as a headstrong medical examiner in the TV series 'Quincy, ME' and, most famously, as half of 'The Odd Couple', which ran 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 expelled by his wife.

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

Klugman said the fact that he and Randall resembled their characters in real life helped the show succeed, as did their training as stage actors. Many of the show's funniest scenes were improvised.

"Tony and I never saw the show as merely a frolic, but rather as a portrait of friendship," Klugman wrote in his 2005 memoir, 'Tony and Me'.

The series was facing a quick demise after the first 15 episodes, all but one of which "stunk", Klugman said.

But 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 1973 and 1971. Randall won in 1975.

Irish Independent

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