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'Odd Couple' actor Jack Klugman dies in U.S.

Jack Klugman, the prolific, craggy-faced character actor and regular guy who was loved by millions as the messy one in TV's “The Odd Couple” and the crime-fighting coroner in “Quincy, M.E.,” died Monday, a son said. He was 90.

In this Dec. 3, 1992 file photo, Jack Klugman, left, and Tony Randall laugh at a news conference. (AP-Yonhap News)
In this Dec. 3, 1992 file photo, Jack Klugman, left, and Tony Randall laugh at a news conference. (AP-Yonhap News)

Klugman, who lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980s and trained himself to speak 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,” son Adam Klugman said.

Jack Klugman apparently died suddenly, and family members were not sure of the exact cause.

Never anyone's idea of a matinee idol, Klugman remained a popular star for decades simply by playing a gruff but down-to-earth guy, his tie stained and a little loose, a cigar in hand during the days when smoking was permitted.

His was a city actor ideal for “The Odd Couple,” which ran from 1970 to 1975 and was based on Neil Simon's play about mismatched roommates, divorced New Yorkers who end up living together. The show teamed Klugman _ the sloppy sports writer Oscar Madison _ and Tony Randall _ the fussy photographer Felix Unger _ in the roles played by Walter Matthau and Art Carney on Broadway and Matthau and Jack Lemmon in the 1968 film.

Klugman had already had a taste of the show when he replaced Matthau on Broadway, and he learned to roll with the quick-thinking Randall.

“There's nobody better to improvise with than Tony,” Klugman said. “A script might say, `Oscar teaches Felix football.' There would be four blank pages. He would provoke me into reacting to what he did. Mine was the easy part.”

They were the best of friends in real life. When Randall died in 2004 at age 84, Klugman told CNN: “A world without Tony Randall is a world that I cannot recognize.”

In “Quincy, M.E.,” which ran from 1976 to 1983, Klugman played an idealistic, tough-minded medical examiner who tussled with his boss by uncovering evidence of murder in cases where others saw natural causes.

“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,”' he said in a 1987 Associated Press interview.

For his 1987 role as 81-year-old Nat in the Broadway production of “I'm Not Rappaport,” Klugman wore leg weights to learn to shuffle like an elderly man. He said he would wear them for an hour before each performance, “to remember to keep that shuffle.”

“The guy is so vital emotionally, but physically he can't be,” Klugman said.

“We treat old people so badly. There is nothing easy about 80.”

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he was born in Philadelphia and began his acting career in college drama. He made his Broadway debut in 1952 in a revival of “Golden Boy.” His film credits included Sidney Lumet's “12 Angry Men” and Blake Edwards' “Days of Wine and Roses,” and an early television highlight was appearing with Humphrey Bogart and Henry Fonda in a production of “The Petrified Forest.”

His performance in the classic 1959 musical “Gypsy” brought him a Tony nomination for best featured (supporting) actor in a musical.

Throat cancer took away his raspy voice for several years in the 1980s. When he was back on the stage for a 1993 revival of “Three Men on a Horse,” The Associated Press review said, “His voice may be a little scratchy but his timing is as impeccable as ever.”

“The only really stupid thing I ever did in my life was to start smoking,” he said in 1996. Seeing people smoking in television and films, he added, “disgusts me, it makes me so angry _ kids are watching.”

Klugman's wife, actress-comedian Brett Somers, played his ex-wife, Blanche, in the “Odd Couple” series. The couple, who married in 1953 and had two sons, Adam and David, had been estranged for years at the time of her death in 2007.

In February 2008, at age 85, Klugman married longtime girlfriend Peggy Crosby. His attorney Larry Larson wrote in an email that Klugman is also survived by two grandchildren.

In 1997, Klugman was sued by an ex-girlfriend, Barbara Neugass, who claimed he had promised to support her for the rest of her life. But a jury rejected her claim. (AP)

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안방극장 주름잡던 男배우, 사망!

‘별난 커플(The Odd Couple),” “퀸시 M.E. (Quincy M.E.) 등 수많은 인기 프로그램에 출연하며 사랑을 받았던 원로배우 잭 클로그먼이 24일 (현지시간) 향년 90세를 일기로 사망했다고 그의 아들 아담 클루그먼이 밝혔다.

“그분은 대단한 삶을 사셨고 삶의 모든 순간을 즐기셨습니다. 다른 사람들도 똑같이 하기를 바라셨을 겁니다”라고 아담 클루그먼은 밝혔다.

클루그먼의 죽음은 갑작스러운 것이었으며 그의 가족들의 사인에 대해 짐작이 가는 것이 없다고 밝혔다.

그는 수십년간의 활동을 통해 특유의 걸걸하고 현실적인 캐릭터로 인기를 누렸다.

클러그먼은 1970~1975년 방영한 시트콤 별난 커플에서 괴짜 스포츠기자로 출연했다. 그는 이 작품으로 TV의 아카데미상이라고도 불리는 에미상을 두번이나 수상했다. 1976~1983년에는 드라마 퀸시 M.E.에 범죄 수사를 좋아하는 법의학자로 출연하며 친숙한 배우로 자리매김 했다.

클루그먼은 유대계 러시아인의 아들로서, 펜실베니아에서 태어나 대학시절 연극을 전공하였다. 그는 1952년에 “골든 보이(Golden Boy)”의 리메이크작에 출연하면서 데뷔를 하였고, 영화 “12명의 성난 사람들 (12 Angry Men”과 “와인과 장미의 나날들 (Days of Wine and Roses” 등에도 출연하였다.

그는 1959년 뮤지컬 “집시(Gypsy)”에 출연하며 미국 브로드웨이의 연극상 토니상의 남우조연상 후보에 오르기도 했다.

그러나 그는 지나친 흡연으로 인해 식도암을 판정을 받았으며, 이후 특유의 걸걸한 목소리를 잃었다.

“제 인생에서 한 유일한 멍청한 짓을 담배를 피우기 시작한 것이었습니다”라고 그는 1996년 인터뷰에서 밝혔다. 그는 TV와 영화에서 나오는 흡연 장면을 볼 때마다 “구역질이 난다”고 말했다.

그는 1953년에 배우 겸 코미디언 브렛 소머스와 결혼했으며, 부부는 별난 커플에서 함께 출연하기로 했다.

소머스와 2007년 사별한 클러그먼은 이듬해 페기 크로스비와 재혼했다. 크로스비는 클러그먼의 임종 당시 곁에 있었다고 한다.