Three time Emmy Award winning veteran character actordied in Northridge, California December 24 at the age of 90. Klugman’s son Adam said that the exact cause of death was not known.
Known best for the “messy guy” Oscar Madison in the sitcom “The Odd Couple” and as forensic pathologist crime solver Dr. Quncey; Klugman often played the role of “every man” – the guy you would meet on the street on any given day. It was not uncommon for Klugman and fellow “Odd Couple” star Tony Randall to adlib their scenes on the Emmy winning hit show. “There's nobody better to improvise with than Tony. A script might say, 'Oscar teaches Felix football.' There would be four blank pages. He would provoke me into reacting to what he did. Mine was the easy part," said Klugman.
After a battle with throat cancer that took his voice, Klugman not only learned to speak again; but returned to the stage on Broadway and earned a standing ovation for his first performance back. Klugman once said, "the only really stupid thing I ever did in my life was to start smoking. Seeing people smoking in television and films, disgusts me, it makes me so angry — kids are watching."
He was born Jacob Joachim Klugman on April 27, 1922 in Philadelphia the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He spent time in the US Army during World War II and later turned to acting in Off Broadway productions. Klugman roomed with fellow actorduring those days.
Klugman made his Broadway debut in 1952. In “Gypsy” he played oppositeas her boyfriend Herbie. Before playing the role of Oscar Madison in the television series “The Odd Couple”, Klugman played the role on Broadway.
Klugman made his television debut on the “Actor’s Studio” in 1950; from there he went on to appear in nearly 100 roles including “Inner Sanctum”, “Justice”, “12 Angry Men”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, “Gunsmoke”, “Suspicion”, “Studio One in Hollywood”, the “Kraft Theatre”, “Kiss Me Kate”, “Days of Wine and Roses”, “The Untouchables”, six episodes of “Naked City”, four episodes of “The Twilight Zone”, “The Virginian”, three episodes of “The Defenders”, 13 episodes of “Harris Against the World”, “The Fugative”, “Ben Casey”, “I Dream of Jeanie”, “The F.B.I.”, three episodes of “Love, American Style”, 114 episodes of “The Odd Couple”, 148 episodes of “Quincey, M.E.”, “The Love Boat”, 26 episodes of “You Again”, “Around the World in 80 Days”, “Diagnosis Murder”, “The Outer Limits”, “Third Watch”, “Crossing Jordan”, and his final role as Sam in “Camera Obscura”.
Klugman loved horse racing and even raised horses. One of his horses – Jaklin Klugman – even came in third in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness in 1980.
Klugman is predeceased by fellow actor and first wife Brett Somers. He is survived by his wife Peggy Crosby – whome he married in 2008 at 85 -, sons Adam and David, and two grandchildren. Klugman was the last member of the original “12 Angry Men” 1957 cast.