Jack Klugman

Jack Klugman (April 27, 1922 – December 24, 2012) was an American stage, film, and television actor.[2]

Jack Klugman
Klugman in November 2009
Jack Klugman[1][2][3]

(1922-04-27)April 27, 1922
DiedDecember 24, 2012(2012-12-24) (aged 90)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park[4][3]
EducationCarnegie Mellon University (BFA)
Years active1950–2010
Brett Somers
(m. 1953; div. 1977)
Peggy Crosby
(m. 2008; his death 2012)
Children2, including Adam Klugman
RelativesBrian Klugman (great-nephew)
AwardsEmmy Award (1964, 1971, 1973)[6][7]
Golden Globe Award (1974)[8] Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch Army of the United States
Years of service1943–46[9]

He began his career in 1950, and started television and film work with roles in 12 Angry Men (1957) and Cry Terror! (1958). During the 1960s, he guest-starred on numerous television series. Klugman won his first Primetime Emmy Award for his guest-starring role on The Defenders, in 1964. He also made a total of four appearances on The Twilight Zone from 1960 to 1963. In 1965, Klugman replaced Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison in the Broadway play, The Odd Couple. Five years later, he reprised that role in the television adaptation of The Odd Couple, opposite Tony Randall. The series aired from 1970 to 1975. Klugman won his second and third Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for his work on the series. From 1976 to 1983, he starred in the title role in Quincy, M.E. for which he earned four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

Early life

Klugman was born in Philadelphia, the youngest of six children born to Rose, a hat maker, and Max Klugman, a house painter.[10] His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. Klugman served in the United States Army during World War II.[11] He attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, now Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1948.[2] While there, his drama teacher told him, "Young man, you are not suited to be an actor. You are suited to be a truck driver."[12] After the war, he pursued acting roles in New York City, while sharing an apartment with friend and fellow actor Charles Bronson.[11]


1950s and 1960s

Klugman was active in numerous stage, television, and film productions during the 1950s and '60s. In 1950, he had a small role in the Mr. Roberts road company at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. Later that same year, he made his television debut in an episode of Actors Studio. In March 1952, Klugman made his Broadway debut in Golden Boy, as Frank Bonaparte.

In 1954, he played Jim Hanson on the soap opera, The Greatest Gift.[13] The following year, he appeared in the live television broadcast of Producers' Showcase, in the episode "The Petrified Forest" with Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda. Klugman later said the experience was the greatest thrill of his career. He went on to appear in several classic films, including 12 Angry Men (1957), as juror number five. In 1959, he returned to Broadway in the original production of Gypsy: A Musical Fable. In 1960, Klugman was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor (Musical) for his role in the show, but lost to Tom Bosley in Fiorello!.[14] He remained with Gypsy until it closed in March 1961.

From 1960 to 1963, Klugman appeared in four episodes of The Twilight Zone series: "A Passage for Trumpet" (1960), "A Game of Pool" (1961), "Death Ship" (1963), and "In Praise of Pip" (1963), tying with Burgess Meredith for the most appearances in a starring role on the series. In 1964, he won his first Primetime Emmy Award for his guest starring role on The Defenders. That same year, Klugman landed the starring role in the sitcom Harris Against the World. The series was a part of an experimental block of sitcoms that aired on NBC entitled 90 Bristol Court. Harris Against the World, along with the other sitcoms that aired in the block, were canceled due to low ratings the following year.

Klugman continued the decade with multiple guest roles on television including The F.B.I., Ben Casey, The Name of the Game, and Insight. He also appeared on Broadway in Tchin-Tchin, from October 1962 to May 1963. From 1960 to 1963, Klugman appeared in two episodes of The Untouchables series: "Loophole" (1961), and "An Eye for an Eye" (1963).

The Odd Couple

In 1965, Klugman replaced Walter Matthau in the lead role of Oscar Madison in the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple.[15] He reprised the role when the play was adapted as a television series, which was broadcast on ABC from 1970 to 1975. Over the course of the show's five-year, 114-episode run, Klugman won two Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on the series. In 1973, during the run of the series, Klugman and Odd Couple co-star Randall recorded an album titled The Odd Couple Sings for London Records. Roland Shaw and The London Festival Orchestra and Chorus provided the music and additional vocals.[16]

1970s and 1980s

After the cancellation of The Odd Couple in 1975, Klugman returned to television in 1976 in Quincy, M.E., initially broadcast as part of the NBC Mystery Movie umbrella series, before becoming a weekly program. Klugman portrayed Dr. Quincy, a forensic pathologist who worked for the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office and solved crimes. He was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on the series and also wrote four episodes. Quincy aired for a total of 148 episodes over eight seasons, ending in 1983. In 1986, Klugman starred in the sitcom You Again?, co-starring John Stamos as Klugman's character's son. The series was broadcast on NBC for two seasons before being canceled. During the show's run, Klugman also appeared on Broadway in I'm Not Rappaport. The show closed in 1988. The following year, he co-starred in the television miniseries Around the World in 80 Days.

1990s to 2010s

In 1989, Klugman's throat cancer (with which he was first diagnosed in 1974) returned. His illness sidelined his career for the next four years. He returned to acting in a 1993 Broadway revival of Three Men on a Horse.[17] That same year, he reunited with Tony Randall in the television film The Odd Couple: Together Again. The next year, Klugman co-starred in the television film Parallel Lives.

In 1993, he appeared on a special "celebrity versus regulars" version of the British quiz show Going for Gold, emerging as the series winner.[18]

In 1996, he co-starred in The Twilight of the Golds and the comedy film Dear God. He resumed his television career with guest spots on Diagnosis: Murder. He also starred in The Outer Limits episode "Glitch", and appeared in an episode of the TV series Crossing Jordan. In 1997, Klugman starred in the Broadway, then in 2007, Off-Broadway revival of The Sunshine Boys.[19][20]

In 2005, Klugman co-starred in the comedy film When Do We Eat?. That same year, he published Tony and Me: A Story of Friendship, a book about his long friendship with his The Odd Couple co-star Tony Randall.[21][22] Klugman gave the eulogy at Randall's memorial service in 2004.[21] Klugman, who liked the same New York Mets whose cap he wore as Oscar Madison, started an MLB.com PRO Blog called Klugman's Korner to talk about baseball and Randall.[23]

In 2008, he sued NBC Television concerning missing profits from his show Quincy M.E.[24] The lawsuit was filed in California Superior Court, with Klugman requesting NBC to show him the original contract.[24] Klugman stated that his production company, Sweater Productions, should have received 25% of the show's net profits. NBC Universal and Klugman settled the lawsuit on undisclosed terms in August 2010.[24]

His last on-screen role was in the 2010 horror film Camera Obscura.[25] His final acting job was in a stage production of Twelve Angry Men at the George Street Playhouse, which opened on March 13, 2012.[26]


Cancer battle

Klugman was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974.[27]

In 1988, he lost a vocal cord to throat cancer surgery, but continued to act on stage and television, though he was left with a quiet, raspy voice.[28] In later years subsequent to his operation, he regained limited strength in his voice.[29]

Personal life

Marriage and children

Klugman married actress Brett Somers in 1953. The couple had two children, Adam (who had a cameo as Oscar Madison as a child in a flashback on The Odd Couple) and David, before separating in 1974. He had a stepdaughter, Leslie Klein, from Somers' first marriage. Klein was married to Jim Fyfe, an actor and theater director. It was long reported that Somers and Klugman separated in 1974 but remained legally married until her death.[30] However, California records indicate the couple divorced in August 1977.[31][5] In 2007, Somers died from cancer at age 83.[32]

Klugman began living with Peggy Crosby[33] in 1988. They married in February 2008, shortly after Somers' death.[34][35]

Business interests

  • Klugman was an avid Thoroughbred racing fan. He owned Jaklin Klugman, which finished third in the 1980 Kentucky Derby behind the great filly Genuine Risk and Grade 1 stakes winner Akinemod. Klugman said Jaklin Klugman's success was the biggest thrill in his life.[36]
  • In the 1980s, Klugman lent his name to a popcorn franchise named "Jack's Corn Crib".[37]


Klugman died at the age of 90 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, of prostate cancer on December 24, 2012.[2] A New York Times obituary described him as an "extraordinary actor ennobling the ordinary".[38] An obituary in the Huffington Post referred to him as a "character actor titan".[39] Klugman's body was interred at Westwood Memorial Park cemetery in Los Angeles.[40]

Broadway credits

Date Production Role
March 12 – April 6, 1952 Golden Boy Frank Bonaparte
November 14–17, 1956 A Very Special Baby Carmen
May 21, 1959 – March 25, 1961 Gypsy: A Musical Fable Herbie
Apr 22, 1963 – May 18, 1963 Tchin-Tchin Caesario Grimaldi (Replacement)
November 8, 1965 – July 2, 1967 The Odd Couple Oscar Madison (Replacement)
December 18, 1968 – December 21, 1968 The Sudden & Accidental Re-Education of Horse Johnson Horse Johnson
November 19, 1985 – January 17, 1988 I'm Not Rappaport Nat (Replacement)
April 13 – May 16, 1993 Three Men on a Horse Patsy
December 8, 1997 – June 28, 1998 The Sunshine Boys Willie Clark


Year Title Role Notes
1952 Grubstake Alternative title: Apache Gold
1956 Time Table Frankie Page
1957 12 Angry Men Juror No. 5
1958 Cry Terror! Vince, a thug
1962 Days of Wine and Roses Jim Hungerford
1963 I Could Go on Singing George
1963 The Yellow Canary Lt. Bonner
1963 Act One Joe Hyman
1965 Hail, Mafia Phil Alternative title: Je vous salue, mafia!
1968 The Detective Dave Schoenstein
1968 The Split Harry Kifka
1969 Goodbye, Columbus Ben Patimkin
1971 Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow! Barney
1976 Two-Minute Warning Sandman
1996 The Twilight of the Golds Mr. Stein
1996 Dear God Jemi
2005 When Do We Eat? Artur
2010 Camera Obscura Sam (final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1950 Suspense Louie Episode: "Murder at the Mardi Gras"
1953 Colonel Humphrey Flack 2 episodes
1954 Rocky King Detective Episode: "Return for Death"
1954 Inner Sanctum Various roles 3 episodes
1954–1956 Justice 3 episodes
1955 Producers' Showcase Jackie Episode: "The Petrified Forest"
1955 Treasury Men in Action Episode: "The Case of the Betrayed Artist"
1955–1956 Goodyear Television Playhouse 2 episodes
1955–1956 Armstrong Circle Theatre 2 episodes
1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents George Benedict Episode: "Mail Order Prophet"
1958 Gunsmoke Earl Ticks Episode: "Buffalo Man"
1958 General Electric Theater Murphy Episode: "The Young and Scared"
1957 General Electric Theater Peter Tong Episode: "A New Girl In His Life"
1959 The Walter Winchell File Allie Sunshine Episode: "Death Comes in a Small Package: File #37"
1960–1963 The Twilight Zone 4 episodes
1961 Follow the Sun Steve Bixel Episode: "Busman's Holiday"
1961 Target: The Corruptors! Otto Dutch Kleberg, Greg Paulson 1x02 Pier 60, 1x18 Chase the Dragon
1961 Straightaway Buddy Conway Episode: "Die Laughing"
1962 The New Breed Floyd Blaylock Episode: "All the Dead Faces"
1962 Cain's Hundred Mike Colonni Episode: "Women of Silure"
1962 Naked City Peter Kannick Episode: "King Stanislaus and the Knights of the Round Stable"
1963 The Untouchables Solly Girsch Episode: "An Eye for An Eye"
1963 Naked City Arthur Crews Episode: "Stop the Parade! A Baby Is Crying!"
1963 The Twilight Zone Captain Ross Episode: "Death Ship #108"
1963 Arrest and Trial Celina Episode: "The Quality of Justice"
1963 The Fugitive Buck Harmon Episode: "Terror at High Point", Season 1, Episode 13
1964 The Virginian Charles Mayhew Episode: "Roar from the Mountain"
1964 The Defenders Joe Larch Episode: "Blacklist"
1964 The Great Adventure John Brown Episode: "The Night Raiders"
1964–1965 Harris Against the World Alan Harris 13 episodes
1965 Kraft Suspense Theatre Ozzie Keefer Episode: "Won't It Ever Be Morning? "
1965 Ben Casey Dr. Bill Justin Episode: "A Slave Is on the Throne"
1965 The Fugitive Gus Hendricks Episode: "Everybody Gets Hit in the Mouth Sometimes", Season 2, Episode 24
1966 Fame Is the Name of the Game Ben Welcome Television film
1967 Garrison's Gorillas Gus Manners Episode: "Banker's Hours"
1969 Then Came Bronson Dr. Charles Hanrahan Episode: "The Runner"
1970 The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Leland Rogers Episode: "The Diamond Millstone"
1970 The Name of the Game Captain Garrig Episode: "The Time Is Now"
1970–1975 The Odd Couple Oscar Madison 114 episodes
1972 Banyon Episode: "The Lady Killers"
1973 Poor Devil Burnett J. Emerson Television film
1974 The Underground Man Sheriff Tremaine Television film
1976 One of My Wives Is Missing Inspector Murray Levine Television film
1976–1983 Quincy, M.E. Dr. R. Quincy, M.E. 147 episodes
1979 Password Plus Himself Game Show Participant / Celebrity Guest Star
1979 Insight Packy Rowe Episode: "Rebirth of Packy Rowe"
1986–1987 You Again? Henry Willows 26 episodes
1989 Around the World in 80 Days Capt. Bunsby Miniseries
1993 The Odd Couple: Together Again Oscar Madison Television film
1994 Parallel Lives Senator Robert Ferguson Television film
1995 Shining Time Station: Second Chances Max Okowsky Television film
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Dr. Jeff Everden Episode: "Physician, Murder Thyself"
1999 Diagnosis: Murder Lt. Harry Trumble Episode: "Voices Carry"
1999 Brother's Keeper Jack Episode: "An Odd Couple of Days"
2000 The Outer Limits Joe Walker Episode: "Glitch"
2000 Third Watch Stan Brandolini Episode: "Run of the Mill"
2002 Crossing Jordan Dr. Leo Gelber Episode: "Someone to Count On"


Year Award Category Title of work
1974 Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy The Odd Couple
1964 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role The Defenders
(For episode: "Blacklist")
1971 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series The Odd Couple
1973 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series The Odd Couple
2004 TV Land Award Quintessential Non-Traditional Family The Odd Couple
(Shared with Tony Randall)


  1. "Jack Klugman Interview Part 1 of 5 - EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. May 1, 1998. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  2. Bruce Weber (reporter) (December 24, 2012). "Jack Klugman, Actor of Everyman Integrity, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Jack Klugman, the rubber-mugged character actor who leapt to television stardom in the 1970s as the slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison on 'The Odd Couple' and as the crusading forensic pathologist of 'Quincy, M.E.', died on Monday at his home in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles. He was 90. ... Mr. Klugman's path to success was serendipitous. He was born in Philadelphia on April 27, 1922, the youngest of six children of immigrants from Russia. Most sources indicate that his name at birth was Jacob, though Mr. Klugman said in an interview that the name on his birth certificate is Jack.
  3. Feinberg, Scott (May 8, 2012). "Jack Klugman Turns 90, Reflects on Life and Legendary Stage, Film and TV Career (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  4. C and N Rasmussen (contributor) (December 24, 2012). "Jack Klugman, Actor of Everyman Integrity, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved March 2, 2015. Jack Klugman, the rubber-mugged character actor who leapt to television stardom in the 1970s as the slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison on 'The Odd Couple' and as the crusading forensic pathologist of 'Quincy, M.E.,' died on Monday at his home in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles. He was 90. ... Mr. Klugman's path to success was serendipitous. He was born in Philadelphia on April 27, 1922, the youngest of six children of immigrants from Russia. Most sources indicate that his name at birth was Jacob, though Mr. Klugman said in an interview that the name on his birth certificate is Jack.
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  21. Friedman, Roger (May 31, 2004). "Klugman, Family and Friends Say Goodbye to Tony Randall". Fox News Channel. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
  22. Jack Klugman (May 31, 2004). "Eulogy: Tony Randall". Time. 163 (22): 24.
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  37. "AND NOW THERE'S EVEN PIZZA POPCORN". The New York Times. August 18, 1983.
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