It's always sad to hear about the passing of a revered actor, but hearing about it during this festive holiday season makes it even more heartbreaking. The news that Jack Klugman died on Christmas Eve made me think of all the great performances he gave us during an outstanding career that spanned theater, television, and film.
He was best known of course for his TV role in the classic comedy The Odd Couple, in which he played the sloppy, grumpy sportswriter Oscar Madison who roomed with the neat freak Felix Unger, doing a fine job of making the character his own after Walter Matthau's cinematic rendition alongside Jack Lemmon.
Klugman had another defining part in Quincy M.E., a trendsetting medical drama that foreshadowed the current television trend of crime scene investigators. Has there ever been a fictional crimesolving medical examiner greater than Dr. R. Quincy?
From his early roles as the streetsmart juror in the excellent movie 12 Angry Men and appearances on The Twilight Zone to his later roles on Diagnosis Murder, The Outer Limits reboot, and Third Watch, he was a consummate professional. Even after battling lung cancer for decades and losing a vocal cord, he managed to continue working, serving as an inspirational example for all actors everywhere.
He will be missed. May he rest in peace.