Tuesday, December 25, 2012

In Memoriam: Jack Klugman

Jack Klugman started his career in the 1950s in small roles in the television series Big Town and Justice.  While Klugman would mainly be known for his roles on television it was a breakout film role in 12 Angry Men (1954) as Juror Number 5, which garnered him more attention at set his career off like a rocket.

After his turn in him film Klugman was on two different television series on and off from throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Naked City and The Twilight Zone.  Klugman also appeared as a guest star in three different episodes of the hit series The Defenders; he won his first Emmy award in The Defenders.

After working on series in a limited basis he finally received his first lead credit in the series The Odd Couple, as grouchy slob Oscar Madison.  The television series was based on the play, and film by Neil Simon.  In the original play and movie the role was played by Walter Matthau.  Klugman's Oscar was one of the funniest sitcom performances, and many actors today use his sitcom brand in their acting. While on the show Kulgman won a Gold Globes and two Emmy Awards for this role. The show ran from 1970-1975.

Almost right after this show ended opportunity knocked giving Klugman an opportunity to star in a serialized medical drama, Quincy M.D..  In Qunicy Klugman played the opinionated medical examiner who solved crimes.  Klugman was nominated for numerous Emmy Awards for this show, but never won, the show ran from 1976 through 1983.

Unfortunately at the height of his popularity Klugman was diagnosed with throat cancer, in 1974; he eventually lost a vocal cord in 1989.  Starring in the film Dear God, you could tell his voice was unfortunately strained.  Yet Klugman was a class act, and a memorable character actor who will be missed.

Below is a clip form my favorite episode of The Odd Couple

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