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“We had some wonderful writers,” he said in a 1987 Associated Press interview. “Quincy was a muckraker, like Upton Sinclair, who wrote about injustices. He was my ideal as a youngster, my author, my hero.

“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.’ A coroner has power. He can tell the police commissioner to investigate a murder. I saw the opportunity to do what I’d gotten into the theater to do _ give a message.

“They were going to do cops and robbers with `Quincy.’ I said, `You promised me I could do causes.’ They said, `Nobody wants to see that.’ I said, `Look at the success of `60 Minutes.’ They want to see it if you present it as entertainment.”

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 acting in college at 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. 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.

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.”

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 AP’s 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 “disgusts me, it makes me so angry _ kids are watching,” he said.

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.”

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.”

A horse Klugman co-owned, Jacklin Klugman, finished third in 1980’s Kentucy Derby and fourth in that year’s Preakness Stakes.

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