KLUGMAN, JACK (1922– ), U.S. actor. Born in South Philadelphia, Klugman rose from a working-class background to become a fixture in American television during the 1970s. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of disheveled sportswriter Oscar Madison in the television series The Odd Couple, based on Neil Simon's play of the same title, a role which earned him two Emmy Awards. Following his years on The Odd Couple from 1970 to 1975, Klugman continued his success on the small-screen during a seven-year stint as the crime-solving medical examiner Dr. R. Quincy on the television show Quincy (1976–83). Klugman was trained as an actor at Carnegie Mellon University and then at New York's American Theater Wing. He gained respect as an actor in "the golden age" of live television drama, performing in programs for the U.S. Steel Hour, Kraft Television Theater, Studio One, and Playhouse 90, most notably in Reginald Rose's Twelve Angry Men (1957) and Rod Serling's Velvet Alley (1959). Klugman also appeared in four episodes of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone as well as in many films, including Cry Terror (1958), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Act One (1963), The Detective (1968), Goodbye, Columbus (1969), and Two Minute Warning (1976). Klugman has battled oral cancer since 1974, a condition that necessitated the removal of one of his vocal chords in 1989 and threatened to permanently keep him from speaking, yet Klugman has continued to perform and received the American Speech and Hearing Association's International Media Award in recognition of his struggle to regain his speech.
[Walter Driver (2nd ed.)]