Jack Klugman: ‘Odd Couple,’ ‘Quincy’ actor dies at 90

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“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 drama at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After serving in the Army during World War II, he went on to summer stock and off-Broadway, rooming with fellow actor Charles Bronson as both looked for paying jobs.

Mr. Klugman 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.

He also appeared in several episodes of “The Twilight Zone,” including a memorable 1963 one in which he played a negligent father whose son is seriously wounded in Vietnam. His other TV shows included “The Defenders” and the soap opera “The Greatest Gift.”

In a 1987 interview in the New York Daily News, he said, “Once I did three hourlong shows in 2½ weeks. Think we’d do that now? Huh! But then it was great. I did summer stock, played the classics. Me!”

Throat cancer took away his raspy voice for several years in the 1980s. When he was back onstage 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.”

In his later years, he guest-starred on TV series including “Third Watch” and “Crossing Jordan” and appeared in a 2010 theatrical film, “Camera Obscura.”

Mr. Klugman’s hobby was horse racing, and he eventually took up raising them, too.

“I always loved to gamble,” he said. “I never got close to a horse. Fate dealt me a terrible blow when it gave me a good horse the first time out. I thought how easy this is.

“Now I love being around them.”

Mr. 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, Mr. Klugman married longtime girlfriend Peggy Crosby.

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

Biographical material in this story was written by former AP staffer Polly Anderson.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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