Jack Klugman, The Odd Couple and Quincy, M.E. star beloved by TV, movie and theater audiences for five decades, died in Los Angeles on Monday, one of his sons told the Associated Press. He was 90.
“He had a great life and he enjoyed every moment of it and he would encourage others to do the same,” son Adam Klugman said of his father, who had lost his voice to throat cancer in 1980 and then taught himself to speak again through breath control.
With Tony Randall on ABC’s adaptation of the smash Neil Simon play and movie of the ’60s, Klugman played sloppy Oscar Madison from 1970 to 1975 to Randall’s Felix Unger, and though they really were an odd couple, offscreen they were adoring friends. Randall died in 2004.
Born in Philadelphia, Klugman started acting in college, and his film credits included the all-star courtroom drama 12 Angry Men. On Broadway he starred as the love interest Herbie in the original production of the quintessential backstage musical, Gypsy, with the legendary Ethel Merman.
Klugman’s wife, actress-comedian Brett Somers, costarred on The Odd Couple as his ex-wife Blanche. According to the AP, they married in 1953 and had two sons, Adam and David, and had been estranged for years at the time of her death in 2007.
Besides their sons, Klugman is survived by Peggy Crosby, whom he married in February 2008.