Tuesday, December 25, 2012

To Absent Friends: Jack Klugman, Charles Durning

The sad news arrived on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning of the passing of two "old pro" actors, Jack Klugman, 90, and Charles Durning, 89.

Klugman is best remembered for his TV roles as Oscar Madison in "The Odd Couple" and as Quincy in "Quincy M.E.", hit shows that ran in the 1970's and -80's.  His acting credits trace back to the Broadway stage and the early days of television drama.  He also appeared as one of the jurors in Sidney Lumet's great movie from 1957, "Twelve Angry Me," which starred Henry Fonda.  Klugman was the last surviving "juror" from that movie, and he was party of a terrific cast that also included Lee J. Cobb, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Ed Begley, and Martin Balsam.  Terrific movie.

Durning is one of those guys whose face you instantly recognize as he has appeared in a million movies and TV shows.  He received an Oscar nomination for his brief role in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas", and he was in the Best Picture Oscar winner, "The Sting."  He even once played Pope John XXIII in a TV movie!  Personally, I can remember seeing him on stage here in Pittsburgh in a touring production of "The Gin Game."

RIP Jack Klugman and Charles Durning

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