Actor Jack Klugman dead at 90

Published Dec 25, 2012 07:44pm

Actor Jack Klugman, star of the TV series “The Odd Couple”, speaks about writer, director and producer Garry Marshall who received the Legend Award at the taping of the 6th annual TV Land Awards in Santa Monica, California. -Reuters Photo

LOS ANGELES: Jack Klugman, the television star who portrayed a slovenly sportswriter on “The Odd Couple” and a tough medical examiner on “Quincy, ME,” has died. He was 90.

Klugman's attorney Larry Larson said the actor died peacefully at his home in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles with Peggy, his wife of nearly five years, at his side. He is survived by two sons, David and Adam, and two grandchildren.

The TV drama “Quincy, ME,” which initially ran from 1976 to 1983, saw Klugman play the title role of a forensic pathologist with a penchant for solving crime.

His role as sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison on the sitcom “The Odd Couple,” which aired from 1970 to 1975, earned Klugman two Emmy Awards.

He won another Emmy for his performance on the television show “The Defenders,” which marked his first big break.

During a career that spanned more than 60 years, Klugman starred in notable film roles in “12 Angry Men” with Henry Fonda, “Days of Wine and Roses” with Jack Lemmon and “I Could Could Go On Singing” with Judy Garland.

He was nominated for a Tony Award for the 1959 Broadway production of “Gypsy” with Ethel Merman.

A heavy smoker for much of his life, Klugman had survived a throat cancer first diagnosed in 1974. He was able to continue acting thanks to surgery and treatment.

But he did not stop smoking, according to The Oral Cancer Foundation, and his cancer returned.

His voice was reduced to a whisper after a vocal cord was removed in 1989, though he later regained speech with a small, raspy voice.

Klugman also had a role in a 1952 version of Clifford Odets's “Golden Boy.”

But times had been tough for Klugman, who knew poverty as a young, aspiring actor in New York. While he was making his non-salaried stage debut in small productions, Klugman was said to have even sold his blood for $5 a pint.

Details for memorial services were not immediately available.


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