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Jack Klugman

Klugman in November 2009
Born Jacob Joachim Klugman
April 27, 1922 (1922-04-27) (age 87)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1950–present
Spouse(s) Brett Somers (1953–2007)
Peggy J. Compton (2008–present)

Jacob Joachim "Jack" Klugman (born April 27, 1922) is an American stage, film and television actor, known for his roles in sitcoms, movies, television and on Broadway. He is best-known for his role as Tony Randall's sloppy roommate, Oscar Madison, in The Odd Couple shown on American television during the 1970s, and for his starring role in Quincy, M.E., in the 1970s and 1980s. He attended Carnegie Mellon University and graduated in 1948. In 1957, he appeared in the film 12 Angry Men as juror number 5 and is the last surviving actor who played a juror in that movie.


Early life

Born in Philadelphia, Jack Klugman began acting after serving in the United States Army during World War II. A struggling actor in New York City, Klugman was a roommate of fellow actor Charles Bronson before he and Bronson became successful.

Acting career

Klugman starred in several classic films including 12 Angry Men in 1957 (which he says is his favorite film), Days of Wine and Roses in 1962, and Goodbye, Columbus in 1969. He had also won an Emmy Award for his work on the television series The Defenders and appeared in four episodes of the acclaimed series The Twilight Zone (Klugman tied with Burgess Meredith for the most starring appearances by any actor on the series). Klugman says his greatest thrill was appearing with Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda in a 1955 live television broadcast of The Petrified Forest.

He is best known for his starring roles in two popular television series of the 1970s and early 1980s: The Odd Couple (1970–1975) and Quincy, M.E. (1976–1983). Jack also starred in the original Broadway production of The Odd Couple, after replacing Walter Matthau.[1] He won two Emmy Awards for the television version of The Odd Couple.

Klugman was nominated for a Tony Award in 1960 for Best Supporting Actor (Musical) for his role in Gypsy, losing to Tom Bosley in Fiorello!.[2] During the pre-Broadway tryout tour in 1959, several songs were cut, including a song for the character 'Herbie' (played by Klugman) called "Nice, She Ain't" cut because Klugman had a terrible singing voice.

Quiz show appearances

In 1993, Klugman appeared on a special 'celebrity versus regulars' version of the United Kingdom quiz show Going for Gold. The special episode was mostly made up of actors and actresses that appeared in programmes that were on around the same time slot as Going for Gold competing against past series winners. Klugman was invited to participate as the show Quincy, M.E., in which he starred, was often on afterwards. Klugman won this special airing before going on to win the entire 1993 series.

Klugman also appeared on the very first week of the 1970s revival of Match Game and then from time to time filled in for his then-wife, Brett Somers when she became a regular on the program a few weeks later.[3]

Dispute over Quincy M.E. profits

In 2008, Klugman sued NBC Television concerning missing profits from his show Quincy M.E.[4] The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court, with Klugman requesting NBC to show him the original contract.[4] Klugman stated that his production company, Sweater Productions, should have received twenty five percent of the show's net profits.[4] As of the filing date, only an accounting statement had been submitted by NBC.[4]


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. Included with the book was a DVD featuring outtakes from the show.

Personal life

Klugman in August 2005

Klugman is the father of two children: Adam (who had a cameo as Oscar Madison as a child in a flashback on The Odd Couple) and David, both from his marriage to Match Game regular Brett Somers. Klugman and Somers were married in 1953 and legally separated in 1974, though they never divorced, and remained married until her death in 2007 at the age of 83.[5] They only lived together as husband and wife for 21 of their 54-year marriage. It was Klugman, who appeared on the first week of Match Game in 1973, who asked the show's production company, as a stipulation to his appearance, that they give Somers a guest slot on the panel. She fit in so well with the panelists (particularly Charles Nelson Reilly), that she stayed with the show for its entire nine-year run (ending in 1982). Klugman continued to appear on other episodes of Match Game until he and Somers separated, although he would make guest appearances infrequently. Klugman has lived with Peggy Crosby (the ex-wife of Bing Crosby's son, Phillip Crosby) since 1988; however, it was not until February 2008, after Somers's death, that Klugman and Crosby finally married.[6][7]

Klugman and The Odd Couple co-star Tony Randall were long-time friends,[8][9] and Klugman gave the eulogy at Randall's memorial service in 2004.[8]

Health issues

A heavy smoker, Klugman was originally diagnosed with throat cancer in 1974. In 1989 he lost a vocal cord to cancer, but he continued to act on stage and on television. He survived the cancer, though the lost vocal cord has left Klugman with a raspy, scratchy voice. During the 1990s his television credits included a guest starring role in Diagnosis Murder. His cancer was written into his character, where Klugman played a detective who had previously been shot in the throat and had to solve an outstanding case before he died of cancer in the episode "Voices Carry". He also appeared in a second episode, in which he was the murderer. He would also have his cancer written into the story line of The Odd Couple: Together Again, a reunion TV movie he performed with Tony Randall. The movie opened with Oscar in the hospital after his surgery and Felix finding out that Oscar didn't tell him about it in order to keep him from driving him "nuts" during the recovery.

Thoroughbred horse racing

Klugman's character on the Odd Couple television show, a fan of thoroughbred horse racing, was mirrored in his real life. One of his horses, Jaklin Klugman, was voted the 1980 California Horse of the Year after winning several races, including the 1980 California Derby and Jerome Handicap, finishing third in the Kentucky Derby. The horse was once featured in a commercial for Aksarben (Ak-Sar-Ben) race track.[10] The horse also appears in a framed photo located in the room in Quincy's houseboat through the later series.


3/9/1965 Everyone Gets Hit In The Mouth Sometime (The Fugitive) Played Gus


  1. ^ "The Odd Couple by Neil Simon (St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture Summary)". Retrieved 2009-02-20. "...1965 play The Odd Couple and the subsequent 1967 movie, starring Walter Matthau as the sloppy sportswriter Oscar Madison ... In the television series, Oscar was played by Jack Klugman (who had taken over the role from Matthau on Broadway)..." 
  2. ^ The Tony Award Book by Lee Allen Morrow, Abbeville Press, 1987
  3. ^ "Biography for Brett Somers". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Jack Klugman sues NBC over Quincy profits". TV 2008-03-29. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ "'Match Game's' Brett Somers dies at 83". CNN.COM Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  6. ^ Jack Klugman Marries at 85. 7 February 2008.
  7. ^ "Jack Klugman Is a Newlywed". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  8. ^ a b Friedman, Roger (2004-05-31). "Klugman, Family and Friends Say Goodbye to Tony Randall". FOX News.,2933,120556,00.html. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  9. ^ Jack Klugman (2004-05-31). Eulogy: Tony Randall. 163. Time. p. 24.,9171,994325,00.html. 
  10. ^ "Jack Klugman". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 

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