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Jack Klugman has died
December 24, 2012 6:48 PM   Subscribe

The man who first brought us inside a crime lab on television has died at 90. He starred in the Odd Couple with Tony Randall and was the lead in Quincy M.E. He lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980's but taught himself to talk again. He was one of a kind and will be missed.
posted by UseyurBrain (82 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
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The best bit was when he showed the interns the puppet show made of human organs and made them faint, every single episode.
posted by Artw at 6:50 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part was when he showed us the evils of punk rock. If only Quincy had stuck around to save us from grunge.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:54 PM on December 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


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I teach film editing, and I always use as an exercise a sequence from Gunsmoke, where he plays a badguy's sidekick. Even in that little role, he shines through. A really amazing actor.
posted by MythMaker at 6:54 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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DAMNIT
posted by Mezentian at 7:00 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


/wonders if punk-rock episode is on Netflix.
posted by Artw at 7:01 PM on December 24, 2012


If it isn't, one scene is on YouTube.
posted by Mezentian at 7:03 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by parki at 7:03 PM on December 24, 2012


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Can barely believe it's been 8 years since Tony Randall departed.
posted by davebush at 7:05 PM on December 24, 2012


At least no one thinks that *Quincy voice* "It was murder!"
posted by shothotbot at 7:14 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


We kid, because we respect.
posted by Artw at 7:17 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Goodbye Jack Klugman AKA: Oscar Madison.

I will forever delight
in watching you serendipitously
discovering moldy half eaten sandwiches,
buried deep beneath your bed clothes,
and tucking in so happily,
Felix's eyes widening in disbelief and revulsion.

You made them look,

so delicious.


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posted by Skygazer at 7:20 PM on December 24, 2012 [9 favorites]


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posted by sfred at 7:22 PM on December 24, 2012


When that punk episode aired in "82, for some reason I recorded the audio straight from my portable TV's earphone jack and ended up using samples from it on a DIY 4-track song I made with my beloved Casiotone. That "whole sick society" line synced up beautifully with my rhythm track.

Tape recorders were endlessly entertaining.
posted by davebush at 7:22 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He was terrific, I used to watch Quincy with my grandparents, and also repeats of the Odd Couple. He was amazing, made me want to live on a boat and punch Tony Randall.

I came to appreciate Tony Randall as an actor, don't you worry.
posted by Mister_A at 7:23 PM on December 24, 2012


Ah yes, Quincy M.E. No piece of scenery left behind. One of my favorite shows.
posted by Pudhoho at 7:24 PM on December 24, 2012


There was a bit on Quincy where he was talking to a rabbi about how a suicide could be buried on sacred ground despite being a suicide due to a mental illness clause.

When a good friend of mine killed himself, I remembered that scene. It gave me comfort.

I don't often, but

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posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:24 PM on December 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


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posted by cazoo at 7:26 PM on December 24, 2012


He was great on The Odd Couple and Quincy, but I think he really shines in the old Twilight Zones. He brought so much conviction to every role, and in an episode like In Praise of Pip he does a great job selling that sort of purple, writerly Twilight Zone dialogue.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 7:29 PM on December 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The "A Game of Pool" episode of The Twilight Zone is one of my favorite performances.

As great as Walter Mathau was, Klugman totally stole Oscar Madison from him.

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posted by octothorpe at 7:31 PM on December 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


"The best part was when he showed us the evils of punk rock."

No, the best part was when he proved you could murder someone by scaring them to death.


Thanks for the many, many hours of entertainment Jack.
posted by MikeMc at 7:43 PM on December 24, 2012


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posted by gudrun at 7:43 PM on December 24, 2012


As a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, I loved telling people out that Jack Klugman was an alumnus. Most of the prospective students had no idea whom I was talking about.

I agree with octothorpe; Klugman was Oscar Madison.
posted by haiku warrior at 7:44 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


A great actor. I shall watch some 12 Angry Men before I go to bed.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 7:45 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, he was marvelous. Also great in Twelve Angry Men and Goodbye, Columbus.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:46 PM on December 24, 2012


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I, too, enjoyed his Twilight Zone performances, where his passionate delivery fleshed out that purple dialogue with with more conviction than it might have otherwise had.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:47 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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I have always been a huge fan. Bummer. It will be nice to see the memories through metafilter, though.
posted by annsunny at 7:48 PM on December 24, 2012


My partner adores The Odd Couple. The third season is wrapped under the tree for him at this very moment. Most of my exposure has come through him; we've watched the first two seasons numerous times. And Jack Klugman was totally hot. I know how we'll be spending Christmas Day.
posted by kimdog at 7:49 PM on December 24, 2012


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posted by mistersquid at 7:56 PM on December 24, 2012


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posted by Lynsey at 8:06 PM on December 24, 2012


This is my first
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posted by sourcequench at 8:06 PM on December 24, 2012


Zorak is gonna be crushed.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:07 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The teenage kid from the punk rock is Jan from the Office. That is all.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:07 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Mitheral at 8:09 PM on December 24, 2012


God dammit. All night, I've had the phrase "I have to stop Christmas from coming, but how?" I my head.

Well, now I know.

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posted by mhoye at 8:16 PM on December 24, 2012


Oscar Madisoy!
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:31 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oscar Madisoy!
Gee, Oscar, if you'd only been Chinese you woulda won!
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:38 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jack Klugman was the last surviving cast member of the original 12 Angry Men movie, which is spectacular, and everyone should see it. This clip, in which Jack teaches us all about proper knife fight technique, is the best.

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posted by decathecting at 8:42 PM on December 24, 2012 [10 favorites]


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posted by hanoixan at 8:52 PM on December 24, 2012


He was just so much fun to watch in The Odd Couple. He really was Oscar Madison. I also loved watching him in Quincy in syndication when I was in college -- it came on right after Lou Grant, so you'd get a one-two punch of scene-chewing, late-70's Southern California "dramas". That was the TV equivalent of comfort food.

It's hard to believe, but he made his first appearance on TV in 1950, according to IMDB. 19-fricking-50! That's a hell of a run!

Farewell, Oscar/Quincy/juror No. 5. You were good.
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posted by mosk at 8:53 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


octothrope: "As great as Walter Mathau was, Klugman totally stole Oscar Madison from him."

Yeah. Having grown up on reruns of the TV show, the movie just seems so weird and wrong. It's like watching two actors pretending to be your favorite uncles or something. That's not the sound Felix makes when his sinuses are bugging him! It's HAMP! HAMP!, not PHN'YEH! PHN'YEH!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:58 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Jack Klugman was the last surviving cast member of the original 12 Angry Men movie, which is spectacular, and everyone should see it...

A truly great great movie, and I can't believe I forgot Klugman was part of that brilliant ensemble of character actors. And I also can't believe they're all gone now...

posted by Skygazer at 9:13 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by disclaimer at 9:25 PM on December 24, 2012


I loved that even though he wasn't a traditionally handsome actor, both Oscar Madison and Quincy were quite the ladies man. What a loss.

SCTV - Quincy: Cartoon Coroner
posted by Room 641-A at 9:26 PM on December 24, 2012


Been watching a lot of Twilight Zone lately. He really delivered there (as well as everywhere else).

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posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:27 PM on December 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can't think of Quincy without thinking of Carla Tortelli's line on an episode of Cheers (approximating from memory): "If Quincy's so good, how come he always has to dig up the body and examine it again?"

But seriously, what's been said already: Klugman was Oscar Madison, and he was also great in dramatic roles like Twelve Angry Men and the Twilight Zone episodes.

Thanks for the many hours of entertainment.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:28 PM on December 24, 2012


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posted by Ber at 9:37 PM on December 24, 2012


Totally made me want to live on a boat and go home with waitresses.

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posted by bottlebrushtree at 9:39 PM on December 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:56 PM on December 24, 2012


Before Odd Couple, and long before Quincy, Klugman played the straight AA guy who saves the alcoholic Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses. Rather surreal to watch knowing his later personae.

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posted by telstar at 9:58 PM on December 24, 2012


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I loved Quincy & the Odd Couple.
posted by mike3k at 10:05 PM on December 24, 2012


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posted by usonian at 10:30 PM on December 24, 2012


As a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, I loved telling people out that Jack Klugman was an alumnus

Here's a random thought: Klugman was in the Arts College at CMU (Carnegie Tech at the time) right at the same time that Andy Warhol was there. Wonder if they knew each other?
posted by octothorpe at 10:51 PM on December 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by arcticseal at 11:08 PM on December 24, 2012


I was thrilled to see that A Game of Pool is on the utubes, in excellent quality, at least as of a couple of seconds ago. Klugman and Winters! Holy crap! It is, admittedly, a huge and incredibly well lit ham sandwich, but Jack Klugman eats the *fuck* out of that ham sandwich.

SPOILERISH - I watched it thinking that the pool wasn't realistically good enough, but if Brown is subtly trying to throw the game....

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posted by hap_hazard at 11:38 PM on December 24, 2012


Quincy was a perennial favorite in my house. It was one of the shows we could all agree on watching, like the Muppet Show and the Six Million Dollar Man. I'm not really sure why we liked it so much, as kids, but we really did.

Never cared much for the Odd Couple, though. I was too young for that.
posted by Malor at 11:41 PM on December 24, 2012


You don't know what you got till its gone.
What a wonderful actor. He was Oscar Madison.

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posted by quazichimp at 11:58 PM on December 24, 2012


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posted by zaelic at 12:53 AM on December 25, 2012


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posted by radwolf76 at 12:57 AM on December 25, 2012


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I grew up watching both Odd Couple (remember That Girl? this came right after) and Quincy ME later
posted by infini at 1:13 AM on December 25, 2012


What decathecting said, Klugman's gentle sadness in showing us the knife fight technique in Twelve Angry Men is an example to all actors, everywhere. That was a favourite film in our house when I was growing up and I am surprised to learn that Klugman was the last surviving cast member.

I also liked watching Quincy as a kid, and I remember reading an interview with a real live pathologist who said it was her favourite show as a child, that it was her inspiration for getting into pathology, and that even though it wasn't particularly realistic it was still her favourite show and after a long day of chopping up corpses she would come home and relax with her big stack of Quincy DVDs. That she couldn't get enough of forensics fiction in general, but that Quincy was the original and best.
posted by tel3path at 3:04 AM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Quincy made me what I am today.

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posted by Renoroc at 3:15 AM on December 25, 2012


The last Angry Man, gone twelve days after 12/12/12. Oddly fitting, if numerologically strange.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:07 AM on December 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by jquinby at 5:58 AM on December 25, 2012


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posted by Splunge at 6:51 AM on December 25, 2012


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I can hear his voice so clearly in my head, even though I haven't seen a show or a clip in probably 20 years...
posted by segatakai at 6:58 AM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hardly anyone remembers he starred on Broadway opposite Ethel Merman in Gypsy and was married to Brett Sommers (who I just this moment learned was Canadian!). I have a great deal of respect for a guy who hangs out with super awesome loudmouth ladies!

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posted by kuppajava at 7:59 AM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part was when he showed us the evils of punk rock. If only Quincy had stuck around to save us from grunge.

You can see it on Netflix. It's season 8, episode 8 with the title, "Next Stop, Nowhere."
posted by jonp72 at 8:02 AM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


used to watch with my parents The Odd Couple during my wee Sesame Street days and loved him because he was supposed to be the real-life Ernie.




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posted by liza at 8:06 AM on December 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by The Violet Cypher at 8:25 AM on December 25, 2012


Klugman, as Oscar, did one of the most memorable versions, truncated of course, on The Odd Couple. A hilarious episode. Felix tried to get him to be Scrooge in his play and Oscar refused. Until he has the various hosts visit him in a dream. A true classic to recall on this special day. R.I.P., Jack.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:07 AM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by the sobsister at 11:46 AM on December 25, 2012


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posted by bjgeiger at 1:23 PM on December 25, 2012


I enjoyed and admired his acting in the roles of Oscar and Quincy, but now that I know about his role in passing the orphan drug act, I think I love him.
posted by kbar1 at 2:41 PM on December 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I also just read that Washington Post piece on the Orphan Drug Act -- I had never heard that story before and now I want to see that episode of Quincy with the protest against the senator!
posted by gingerbeer at 3:03 PM on December 25, 2012


gingerbeer - if you have Netflix, you're in luck. Quincy, M.E. is streaming. I'm guessing the episode referenced in the article was episode 3, from season 8 (1982).
posted by kbar1 at 3:16 PM on December 25, 2012


Yup, entitled "Give Me Your Weak", and we have Netflix, so I'm in luck!
posted by gingerbeer at 4:09 PM on December 25, 2012


One of his two sons, David, has an office on the same floor as the place I do my weekly internet show, I run into him all the time. A very nice guy, looks like the whole family are mensches. He was amazing in those Twilight Zone episodes, the one where he's the horn player who runs into Gabriel is really something else. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

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posted by dbiedny at 4:59 PM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a huge game show fan, my first introduction to Jack Klugman was through Match Game. He appeared several times throughout the '70s, including the show's first week in 1973. He also made a few appearances after he and Brett Somers separated. http://www.youtube.com/user/MatchGameProductions is uploading some of these episodes, and I highly recommending checking one out. They're quite hilarious.
posted by DRoll at 6:36 PM on December 25, 2012


"Real Men Don't Watch Quincy "
posted by jeffen at 7:14 PM on December 25, 2012


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posted by KillaSeal at 10:28 AM on December 26, 2012


"I'm gonna name that poison and save Sam's life" spoken in that self righteous voice. That's my favorite "Quince" quote.
posted by reidfleming at 7:03 PM on December 26, 2012


I'm going to guess that probably as a response to the infamous punk rock episode, Quincy, gets a sneery, snottynosed punk rock namecheck, (Twice actually!), as one of the "favorite shows," in Blag Flag's: TV Party (1982), right along with That's Incredible, Hill Street Blues, Dynasty, Dallas, Saturday Night Live and Monday Night Football, of course.
posted by Skygazer at 2:00 AM on December 29, 2012


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