Jack Klugman, an award-winning actor famous for his starring roles in the television sitcom “The Odd Couple” and the series “Quincy ME,” has died at age 90, his son has said.
Klugman, whose pairing with Tony Randall on “The Odd Couple” created one of television’s most memorable duos, died at his home on Monday, which was Christmas day, in Los Angeles following a period of declining health, according to his son, Adam Klugman.
“He went very suddenly and peacefully … he was there one minute and gone the next,” the actor’s son told Reuters, adding that the elder Klugman had “been in convalescent mode for awhile.”
He said his father had lost his ability to walk and spent much of his time in bed. His wife of four-and-a-half years, Peggy Crosby, former daughter-in-law of the late singer Bing Crosby, was with him when he died, his son said.
In addition to his TV success, Klugman enjoyed a healthy career on the stage as well as in movies and made successful
forays into horse breeding and political activism.
Klugman gained fame for playing slovenly sports writer Oscar Madison in the sitcom “The Odd Couple” – a role he also had played on Broadway – and then as a crusading coroner in the crime drama “Quincy, ME”.
“The Odd Couple,” based on Neil Simon’s play about two disparate divorced men forced to share an apartment, ran for five years on the ABC network, starting in 1970, but was never a hit during that time.
Only through reruns did Klugman and co-star Randall, who played neat-freak Felix Unger, leave their mark as one of US television’s great sitcom teams.
“We had wonderful respect for one another, we liked working together but we never became friends,” Klugman told the Miami Herald in 2005. “I think that was on account of me. I was withdrawn. I never let anybody get too close.”