Jack Klugman: 'Odd Couple's Oscar Madison Was A Regular Joe

Entertainment | August 8, 2018

Jack Klugman photographed June 4, 1974. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via GettyImages)

As Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple, Jack Klugman became American TV viewers' favorite bachelor slob. Klugman played opposite Tony Randall as Felix Unger in one of the most famous TV duos of all time, a classic clash of personalities that enabled priceless sitcom moments. Klugman's character was a cigar-chomping, car-playing sportswriter and the regular-guy of the two characters, constantly annoyed by the neurotic neat-freak Felix. The Odd Couple ran from 1970-75, after which Klugman went on to star in Quincy, M.E.

Jack Klugman in THE TWILIGHT ZONE episode, 'In Praise of Pip.' Image dated June 19, 1963. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Throughout his successful career, American actor, Jack Klugman, has worked on Broadway, in films, television and even commercial ads. He has been celebrated many times over by his fans and fellow actors.

Jack Klugman began his acting career in the '50s with roles in 12 Angry Men and Cry Terror. He won his first Primetime Emmy Award in 1964 for his role on The Defenders.

In addition to these noteworthy roles, Klugman also appeared in no less than 4 episodes of The Twilight Zone. His portrayal of the character, Oscar Madison, on Broadway, led to his role on the hit television series, The Odd Couple. Klugman played opposite Tony Randall and, immediately, they stole our hearts. The sitcom chronicled the lives of 2 life-long friends who couldn’t have been more opposite. Klugman played a stereotypical bachelor who liked to wine and dine women and was somewhat of a slob. Randall’s character, Felix, was still love-struck with his estranged wife and wanted nothing to do with the bachelor life; unfortunately, that decision was out of his control.  

The Odd Couple often found each other on opposite sides of whatever was playing out.

As Jack Klugman’s career played out, he became very diversified. He had guest starring roles on many of the primetime shows we enjoyed over the years.

Jack Klugman even appeared on an episode of The Love Boat.

Later in his career, Jack Klugman starred in the title role of Quincy, M.E. This series was a stark difference from many of his roles up until this point. He was a no-nonsense medical examiner cracking open cases week after week on the television series.  

Jack Klugman in Quincy, M.E.

In addition to many awards and nominations, Jack Klugman is one of those actors that is easily recognizable. He is probably best remembered for his portrayal of characters Oscar Madison and Quincy. The fact, however, is that there are some surprising things you may not know about him.

  • Klugman was once told by a drama teacher, “Young man, you are not suited to be an actor. You are suited to be a truck driver.” This, however, didn’t keep him from accepting three Emmy Awards.
  • Charles Bronson was once Jack Klugman’s roommate. They were up and coming actors at the same time.
  • There was actually an Odd Couple album by Klugman and Randall, on which the two, somewhat painfully, sang Carly Simon’s song, You’re So Vain.

  • Klugman was a lover of horses. He once owned a horse named Jaklin Klugman. His prized horse almost won the Kentucky Derby in 1980, coming in 3rd.
  • Of all things, Klugman was also a popcorn vendor. He once owned a gourmet popcorn shop called, Jack’s Corn Crib.
  • The brand of yogurt, Yoplait, is now a well-known brand in the U.S. When this French brand first appeared in the States, Jack Klugman was the first American spokesperson, appearing in a television commercial.

Jack Klugman died in 2012 at the age of 90 but left a lasting legacy.

Tags: 1964 | Jack Klugman | Movies In The 1960s | What Did He Do?...

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.