The ODD COUPLE and QUINCY, M.E. star JACK KLUGMAN has departed this mortal veil at 90.
After a battle with throat cancer Klugman, who lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980s and taught himself how to speak all over again, died with his wife at his side.
"He had a great life and he enjoyed every moment of it and he would encourage others to do the same," his son Adam Klugman told AP.
Klugman, born in Philadelphia to Russian Jewish immigrants, began his acting career during his college years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After serving a hitch in the Army during WW II, he honed his craft in summer stock and off-B’way acting gigs with fellow thesp and BFF Charles Bronson.
Jack finally cracked the Great White Way in 1952 in a revival of Clifford Odets boxing drama "Golden Boy." Early film creds included "12 Angry Men" and "Days of Wine and Roses". He garnered critical notices for a key TV appearance in a live production of “The Petirified Forest” which toplined Humphrey Bogart in the role that made him famous, Duke Mantee, and Henry Fonda.
Jack’s craggy delivery and heart- warming performance in the classic 1959 tuner "Gypsy" brought him a Tony nom.
Klugman also made several memorable appearances in Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” including a 1963 tear-jerker with young Billy Mumy “In Praise of Pip”. Jack played a neglectful dad whose son is seriously wounded in Viet Nam.
But it was his portrayal of slob sportswriter Oscar Madison in the TV version of “The Odd Couple” that brought Jack enduring fame.
The show ran from 1970 to 1975 and then has been running in syndication ever since.
While he and costar Tony Randall as fussbudget Felix Unger battled for laffs on the show the two actors remained close pals until Randall’s passing in 2004.
"A world without Tony Randall is a world that I cannot recognize," Jack told CNN.
Few TV stars have a second chance at success but Klugman did so with the hit "Quincy, M.E." (1976-1983).
On “Quincy” Klugman embodied a muckraking, idealistic, medical examiner – the precursor of so many CSI – forensics programmers of today.
Klugman recalled, "Everybody said, `Quincy'll never be a hit.' I said, `You guys are wrong. He's two heroes in one, a cop and a doctor.' A coroner has power. He can tell the police commissioner to investigate a murder. I saw the opportunity to do what I'd gotten into the theater to do – give a message.”
When throat cancer demolished his trademark raspy voice during the 1980s, he battled back and was soon back onstage in a 1993 revival of "Three Men on a Horse".
"The only really stupid thing I ever did in my life was to start smoking," Klugman later admitted.