Of lately I feel like an obituary writer and it is more than disheartening.
December has been a horrible month for the entertainment industry, as far as that goes the whole year whether Musicians or Actors. One right after the next, the deaths just keep coming. Dave Brubeck, Ravi Shankar, Larry Hagman, Lee Dorman and now Jack Klugman, Charles Durning & Fontella Bass.
Klugman was something special. His role as Oscar on the TV side of the Odd Couple was a show you looked forward to every week. I grew up watching him in a variety of Movies and TV. From the “Day’s of Wine and Roses”, “Twelve Angry Men”, the earliest of the Twilight Zone episodes, from Broadway where he created the character of Herbie in 1959 stage version of “Gypsy” to The Odd Couple Broadway & TV (he replaced Walter Matthau on stage version) and back then later Quincy M.E.. Jack always played his characters convincingly and more, with passion.
He just was a likable personality that fit in to whatever project he was doing. So it was sad to hear of his death Christmas Eve. He gave us decades & decades of enjoyment and will be remembered for his gift of making us laugh. Of course me having worked in the Thoroughbred Industry all my life that was another soft spot I had with this man. He loved horse racing, gambling and was an owner of them as well.
Both he and his movie counter part Walter Matthau of Oscar obviously had the same similarities in that respect. And both did Drama & Comedy to the Max.
Tony & Emmy winning Jack Klugman was a part of my youth, adolescence to adulthood and will be missed. Not only my parents generation but us boomers are losing way to many people at what now seems to be a very rapid pace.
We also lost Charles Durning Christmas Eve. He played in so many movies I cannot begin to count them all, I will remember him best from “Dog Day Afternoon”. He like other actors got his start on the stage before going to film, won a Tony for playing Big Daddy in the 1990 revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”.
Broadway is paying tribute to both actors, yesterday for Durning and Tonight for Klugman. The lights being dimmed at 8:00PM.
Fontella Bass’s (died the day after Christmas) “Rescue Me” now seems to have even more of a significance as I’d like to be rescued from what seems to be an everyday occurrence. The news that another one of all of our entertainers has left us. Young and old.
But their voices and faces will live on within Film, TV & Vinyl.
God Speed to all of their families and fans.
Goodbye Mr. Klugman and Thank You.