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.
4 responses to “In Memory of Jack Klugman, Charles Durning & Fontella Bass.”
My heart was truly sad when I heard about the one and only Jack Klugman. My heart goes out to his family and close friend to his family he will be sorely missed from my heart and my eyes. He will go down as one of the best actors in the world. I was so proud of him and all the work he brought to the screen he was around when movies was movies and other great thing he have done will be his mark in the world he left behind for all of us we was like his children and he was like our grandfather on the screen and I will always have so much love in my heart for Jack Klugman.
Did you all know all of his shows he did lasted over 5 season or more wow that’s great!!!! We have lost so many good actors over this year alone /Robin Gibb/Larry Hagman/ and now the other king of prime time that was on channel 5 we can not for get about Quincy that show did a 7 year run.
Jack you have been around for so long and know that you are gone our love for you will keep going on. It so sad when you think about it. When we go to bed at night we never know who in the world is not going to be rising with the sun and Jack was one who did not rise with us on Christmas morning. Not only I was sad on Christmas day but this was a sad day for his family. My prayers go out to you and to his friends. I know it feels like death is never going to end but you all know we are just pasting by we are not here to stay. Its just like walking down the street of life. You walk by and see a old friend that you have not seen in a long time. You stop and hug and then you movie on. When you wake up the person you just hug as past over to the other side of the shore and they have said good night forever. So that’s for the time we had with you Mr. Klugman and we will always hold it dear to our heart and your love you gave all thanks for the memories and that’s for the shows you left behind in your legacy.
We will never forget you and now God has you, may he always keep you in his arms for our love for you will be with us for a life time. I love you jack but god love you best. See you in that big blue sky some day and you don’t have to worry if you are good enough to be there. You made that happen a long time ago. Good night to the other king of prime time. I will love you forever.
Arnita G Freeman
Bless you for your comment Arnita. Yes I too was very sad Christmas Eve as I watched the 11:00PM news with my Mom and heard that he had died. He will always live within our hearts. You and I are among his billions of fans that will never forget him.
Such an excellent tribute to 3 wonderful entertainers. I know I’m late seeing this and replying, but I was especially touched (and VERY happily surprised) that you included Fontella Bass in your article. Fontella was a wonderful artist who, I had the feeling, never really became a household name with the general public save for her great hit, “Rescue Me.”
As for Charles Durning, he was one of those actors that I recall thinking, Wow! This guy’s been in quite a lot of movies and television. For me, I was taking him for granted-don’t get me wrong, he was never less than perfect in everything he did- but one night I was watching him in the movie “Tootsie” and it was one of those “sudden revelations” just how good the man was. He wasn’t one of those actors who came with bells and whistles. He just came in and delivered the goods and took everyone to school on how an actor is supposed to act.
Jack Klugman- I love your words about this great man. My introduction to Mr. Klugman was Friday nights on “The Odd Couple.” That show always brings back such happy memories of my 70’s childhood. From that time on, I would always watch anything that featured Jack Klugman, and I was so happy when “Quincy” premiered. Another weekly dose of this fantastic actor.
So Thank you again for your wonderful article.
You are more than welcome Tomovox.
There are so many we have lost within the past 2 years that meant so much to me but my writing has slowed for various reasons. So many I wanted to pay tribute to but just couldn’t seem to muster up the feelings into words for the passing’s were coming way too fast. Ones minds gets burnt and the heart cringes with each and every announcement. It gets very depressing because they all were apart of our life.
I guess it also reminds us that we are getting older what seems to be faster as well.
God Bless and thank you for your kind reply.