Jack Klugman passed away Monday at the age of 90. Klugman was best known for his roles as Dr. Quincy in the television show Quincy, M.E. (one of the first TV shows to involve forensic science and the grandfather of such shows like CSI and NCIS) and as Oscar Madison in the TV series version of The Odd Couple (based upon a stage play written by Neil Simon) and a film directed by Gene Saks). He spent most of his career in television but he also co-starred in such films as 12 Angry Men (as Juror Number Five), Two-Minute Warning, Goodbye Columbus, The Detective, Days of Wine and Roses and Dear God.
Born Jacob Joachim Klugman and grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology before serving in the US Army during World War II. After the war, Klugman graduated from the Institute and pursued a career in acting. He spent a majority of his career on television appearing in small roles in notable productions such as “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “The Twilight Zone”, “Love, American Style”, “Naked City”, The Untouchables”, “Inner Sanctum” , “The Fugitive”, “The Defenders” and “Kraft Theater”. Klugman landed his own sit-com in 1964 called “Harris Against the World” but it would only last 13 episodes.
The Odd Couple would make Jack Klugman into a household name. The series would go on for five seasons and it would win a Golden Globe and three Emmy Awards (Klugman would win three and his co-star Tony Randall would win one). After The Odd Couple went off the air, Klugman would star in another iconic TV series “Quincy M.E.” Quincy would last eight seasons and he would receive four Emmy Award nominees. When production on “Quincy M.E.” ended, he would star in another TV series (You Again?) but it wasn’t successful and it lasted only two seasons. In 1993 Klugman would reprise his role as Oscar Madison one last time in the TV movie “The Odd Couple: Together Again” with Tony Randall returning as Felix Unger. He would continue to appear in films and television until 2010 (his last film credit was in the horror film Camera Obscura).
Klugman suffered from throat cancer (he was diagnosed with the disease in 1974) from years of chain smoking. Treatment for the disease made his voice raspier and deeper (very noticeable in television and film productions made after the late seventies. He was married twice and had two sons (from his first marriage to Brett Somers). Klugman was also best friends with his Odd Couple co-star Tony Randall and actor Charles Bronson (the two were roommates whilst living in New York during their younger years). Interesting enough, he had a rivalry with fellow character actor Norman Fell that ended with Fell’s death.
Jack Klugman, TV’s Quincy and Oscar Madison will be missed.