Jack Klugman died today at the age of 90 at his home in Northridge, California with his wife, Peggy, at his side. His sons released a statement with the New York Times saying that he lived life to the fullest and he died very peacefully and suddenly.
Jacob Joachim "Jack" Klugman was born on April 27, 1922. He began acting after being discharged in 1945 from serving in the United States Army during World War II. In 1954, Klugman played Jim Hanson on the soap opera The Greatest Gift and made multiple appearances on the NBC legal drama Justice, starring Gary Merrill and Dane Clark, that was based on cases of the Legal Aid Society of New York.
On September 4, 1955, Klugman and Tony Randall appeared together with Gena Rowlands in the episode titled "The Pirate's House" of the CBS anthology series, Appointment with Adventure.
Klugman starred in several classic films, including 12 Angry Men (1957), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and Goodbye, Columbus (1969).
On television, he won an Emmy Award for his work on the series The Defenders and appeared in four episodes of the acclaimed series The Twilight Zone (tied with Burgess Meredith for the most appearances in a starring role).
Klugman says his greatest thrill was appearing with Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda in a 1955 live television broadcast of The Petrified Forest. In 1957, he appeared in the film 12 Angry Men as Juror #5. Of the twelve actors who portrayed the jurors, he was the last survivor. He was scheduled to appear in a stage production of 12 Angry Men at the George Street Playhouse in New Jersey in the spring of 2012, but on March 6 it was announced he had withdrawn from the production for health reasons. In 1963, he also appeared in The Fugitive episode titled "Terror at High Point".
Klugman also starred in the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple as a replacement for Walter Matthau. He won two Emmy Awards for the television version of The Odd Couple.
The show premiered on ABC on Thursday, September 24, 1970, at 9:30 p.m. During the first season, the show was filmed using the single camera method. The apartment set resembled the film version. A laugh track was used (to which Tony Randall objected). Thereafter, the show was filmed with three cameras and performed like a stage play in front of a studio audience. The apartment set was styled similarly, but rearranged to allow more of the apartment (especially the kitchen) to be seen by the studio audience while less important areas (like the hallway) were moved out of audience view.
In 1973, Klugman and Tony 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.
Klugman played the title role, of a Los Angeles County medical examiner in Quincy, M.E. (also called Quincy) from October 3, 1976, to September 5, 1983, on NBC. The series was inspired by the book Where Death Delights by Marshall Houts, a former FBI agent, the show also resembled the earlier Canadian television series Wojeck, broadcast by CBC Television. John Vernon, who played the Wojeck title role, later guest starred in the third-season episode "Requiem For The Living". Quincy's character is loosely modelled on Los Angeles' "Coroner to the Stars" Thomas Noguchi.
A heavy smoker, Klugman was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974. In 1989, he lost a vocal cord to cancer, but continued to act on stage and television, though he was left with a raspy, scratchy voice.
Klugman was an avid thoroughbred racing fan. He owned Jaklin Klugman, who finished third in the 1980 Kentucky Derby behind the great filly Genuine Risk and Grade 1 stakes winner Akinemod. Klugman maintained Jaklin Klugman's success from meager beginnings was the biggest thrill in his life.
In 2005, Klugman published Tony And Me: A Story of Friendship, a book about his long friendship with his The Odd Couple co-star Tony Randall.
Good Night Mr. Klugman