Jack Klugman - Rotten Tomatoes

Jack Klugman

Highest Rated:   100% Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
Lowest Rated:   12% Dear God (1996)
Birthplace:   Not Available
Commenting on his notorious on-set irascibility in 1977, Jack Klugman replied that he was merely "taking Peter Falk lessons from Robert Blake," invoking the names of two other allegedly hard-to-please TV stars. Klugman grew up in Philadelphia, and after taking in a 1939 performance by New York's Group Theatre, Klugman decided that an actor's life was right up his alley. He majored in drama at Carnegie Tech and studied acting at the American Theatre Wing before making his (non-salaried) 1949 stage-debut at the Equity Library Theater. While sharing a New York flat with fellow hopeful Charles Bronson, Klugman took several "grub" jobs to survive, at one point selling his blood for $85 a pint. During television's so-called Golden Age, Klugman appeared in as many as 400 TV shows. He made his film debut in 1956, and three years later co-starred with Ethel Merman in the original Broadway production of Gypsy. In 1964, Klugman won the first of his Emmy awards for his performance in "Blacklist," an episode of the TV series The Defenders; that same year, he starred in his first sitcom, the 13-week wonder Harris Against the World. Far more successful was his next TV series, The Odd Couple, which ran from 1970 through 1974; Klugman won two Emmies for his portrayal of incorrigible slob Oscar Madison (he'd previously essayed the role when he replaced Walter Matthau in the original Broadway production of the Neil Simon play). It was during Odd Couple's run that the network "suits" got their first real taste of Klugman's savage indignation, when he and co-star Tony Randall threatened to boycott the show unless the idiotic laughtrack was removed (Klugman and Randall won that round; from 1971 onward, Odd Couple was filmed before a live audience). It was but a foretaste of things to come during Klugman's six-year (1977-83) reign as star of Quincy, M.E.. Popular though Klugman was in the role of the crusading, speechifying LA County Coroner's Office medical examiner R. Quincy, he hardly endeared himself to the producers when he vented his anger against their creative decisions in the pages of TV Guide. Nor was he warmly regarded by the Writer's Guild when he complained about the paucity of high-quality scripts (he wrote several Quincy episodes himself, with mixed results). After Quincy's cancellation, Klugman starred in the Broadway play I'm Not Rappaport and co-starred with John Stamos in the 1986 sitcom You Again?. The future of Klugman's career -- and his future, period -- was sorely threatened when he underwent throat surgery in 1989. He'd been diagnosed with cancer of the larynx as early as 1974, but at that time was able to continue working after a small growth was removed. For several years after the 1989 operation, Klugman was unable to speak, though he soon regained this ability. He continued working through 2011, and died the following year at age 90.

Highest Rated Movies



97% Paul Williams Still Alive
  • Actor
$38.1k 2012
42% When Do We Eat?
  • Artur
$0.4M 2006
No Score Yet I Could Go On Singing
  • George
43% The Twilight of the Golds
  • Mr. Stein
12% Dear God
  • Jemi
No Score Yet Parallel Lives
  • Senator Robert Ferguson
No Score Yet Around the World in 80 Days
  • Actor
30% Two Minute Warning
  • Actor
No Score Yet One of My Wives Is Missing
  • Inspector Levine
No Score Yet Poor Devil
  • Burnett J. Emerson
No Score Yet Who Says I Can't Ride a Rainbow! (Barney)
  • Barney
100% Goodbye, Columbus
  • Patimkin
No Score Yet The Split
  • Harry Kifka
No Score Yet The Detective
  • Dave Schoenstein
No Score Yet Fame Is the Name of the Game
  • Ben Welcome
No Score Yet Hail! Mafia
  • Phil
No Score Yet Act One
  • Joe Hyman
100% Days of Wine and Roses
  • Jim Hungerford
No Score Yet Cry Terror!
  • Vince
100% 12 Angry Men (Twelve Angry Men)
  • Juror No. 5
No Score Yet Timetable
  • Frankie


No Score Yet Match Game
  • Actor
  • 2016
No Score Yet The Twilight Zone
  • Joey Crown Capt. Paul Ross Jesse Cardiff Max Phillips
  • 1963
  • 1961
  • 1960
No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents
  • George
  • 1957

Quotes from Jack Klugman's Characters