DAVID BIANCULLI

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'Odd Couple' Star Jack Klugman Dead at 90
December 24, 2012  | By Christy Slewinski
 

Actor Jack Klugman, best known for roles on the buddy comedy The Odd Couple and the medical drama Quincy, M.E., passed away Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 90.

Klugman portrayed slovenly sportswriter Oscar Madison, opposite Tony Randall's fastidious Felix Unger, in the television adaptation of Neil Simon's Broadway play The Odd Couple, the story of two divorced men who become roomates.

The ABC series, produced by former Dick Van Dyke Show scriptwriters Garry Marshall and Jerry Belson, was not a ratings smash during its initial five-year run (1970-1975), but eventually earned its classic TV status in reruns. Klugman earned two Emmys for his Odd Couple role.

As the star of Quincy, M.E., which aired on NBC from 1976 to 1983, Klugman helped pioneer the medical mystery drama, paving the way for medical crime dramas such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and ABC's Body of Proof.

Klugman — whose role was based on the real-life medical examiner Thomas T. Noguchi — was so remembered for his role as a forensic pathologist for the Los Angeles County Coroner's office that during the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial, Judge Lance Ito referred to famed forensic expert Henry C. Lee as "the Quincy of Connecticut."

Klugman also left an imprint on television's Golden Age dramas. He was among the noted actors who starred on Kraft Television Theatre (for which he also wrote the 1958 teleplay Code of the Corner), and also appeared on the live anthology series The U.S. Steel Hour. His list of guest-starring roles ranges from The Twilight Zone and Love, American Style to Third Watch and Crossing Jordan.

Klugman's numerous credits also include the Broadway musical Gypsy, opposite Ethel Merman, and the 1957 film gem 12 Angry Men, with Henry Fonda, Jack Warden, Ed Begley and E.G. Marshall.

Klugman on his early acting career, and some of his best-known roles:



Klugman being interviewed by Tonight Show guest host David Brenner:



Klugman in the anthology series Kraft Suspense Theatre ("The Threatening Eye"; 1964):



Klugman, guest-starring in Naked City (Season 1, Episode 19), as a police officer trying to discourage his son, played by Vic Morrow, from following in his footsteps:
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Good news, TVWW readers: An advance copy of David’s upcoming book from Doubleday has just arrived! The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available on Amazon for pre-order for its November 15th release. You can read some of the dustcover summary here, including: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way. In tracing the evolutionary history of our progress toward a Platinum Age of Television,…he focuses on the development of the classic TV genres, among them the sitcom, the crime show, the miniseries, the soap opera, the Western, the animated series and the variety show. David Bianculli's book is the first to date to examine, in depth and in detail and with a keen critical and historical sense, including exclusive and in-depth interviews with many of the most famed auteurs in television history.” —TVWW

 

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