Monday, December 24, 2012

Jack Klugman (1922-2012)

Earlier tonight, it was reported that one of the most cherished & beloved television icons of the 1970's & 80's had passed away.

Jack Klugman had the distinction of starring in two popular, iconic series in the 70's, first in The Odd Couple (1970-5), then, Quincy, M. E., which started as a component of the NBC Mystery Movie before graduating to a regular, one hour series. Klugman passed away earlier today at 90 after a lengthy illness.

Klugman had acted on a number of anthology shows, including Kraft Suspense Theatre & The Twilight Zone, and had made the usual rounds, before being cast as Oscar Madison, a slovenly sportswriter, in The Odd Couple in 1970. Klugman had stepped in for the original Oscar, Walter Matthau, on Broadway, and that got the attention of playwright Neil Simon. Klugman, paired with Tony Randall, was comedy gold.

During the Couple's run, Klugman appeared on Password, playing opposite then-wife Brett Somers, and, seemingly as part of the deal, Password host Allen Ludden would appear as himself on Couple when Felix & Oscar played the game. Klugman also had a passion for horses, and would end up owning some. One race horse, Jacklin Klugman, named for the actor, was a runner-up in the Kentucky Derby & Preakness a number of years back.

Following is the open to Quincy, which reminded viewers of Klugman's dramatic range. His titular coroner championed a number of social causes in addition to solving murders.....

Rest in peace, Jack.


magicdog said...

Klugman is probably one of the few actors to be able to sucessfully shed one iconic role for another. Sure lots of people saw him as Oscar Madison, but I was able to put that aside when he was in roles like Quincy among others.

I really liked the Quincy show, but it got on my nerves when it turned into a PSA every week about some cause or other. On the plus side, the show was a precursor to shows like CSI & NCIS in which viewers got to see a different side of police work and forensics. How many people thought back in the 70s that a show about a coroner performing autopsies would be a hit?

RIP Jack!

hobbyfan said...

Not only that, but how many coroners would be depicted chillin' at the local watering hole with their buds after hours, as often happened on the show, at least before Quincy got married....