Jack Klugman, the irrepressible character actor best remembered as the craggy, charismatically unkempt, skirt-chasing and reckless sportswriter Oscar Madison in the television adaptation of the Broadway play and theatrical film The Odd Couple, has died at the age of 90, reports the Associated Press. The cause of death is yet to be determined, but his son Adam said he had died suddenly.
Klugman’s portrayal of Oscar Madison in the The Odd Couple from 1970 to 1975 on ABC television (winning two Emmy awards) in which he pretty much morphed himself into the character with such aplomb that everything he did after it and his public persona became more associated with the character of Oscar than Jack the man. Klugman has many traits ala Oscar, he loved to gamble, he was also a gregarious low rent playboy in the coolest sense of the word. It was the likeable, everyman man-about-town style he parlayed into the role that made it so memorable. Playing against the late Tony Randall’s neat freak and neurotic Felix Unger, the two men created a television program that while may not have been a success in its original run, soon found its voice and influence in the syndicated reruns market and became one of the most loved television sitcoms of all time, especially in big city markets, where sometimes the program was rerun three times a day. The two men also created a classic comedy team, ala Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on their television appearances on The Colgate Comedy Hour in the 1950s.
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