Acting Greats, Great Humans Jack Klugman/Charles Durning Die

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Was a bad week for film and TV buffs, as Jack Klugman and Charles Durning died within days of each other. Both were just terrific actors and entertainers. Klugman appeared in many films but was shot to fame in the classic TV series, The Odd Couple where he co-starred with Tony Randall as the irrascable slob sports writer Oscar Madison, playing the foil to Randalls neat freak anal retentive roomate Felix Unger. He also was the star of the long running show Quincy, playing a medical examiner. Anyone who saw the odd couple will never forget Klugman or that classic show. Charles....


LALayup
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Hey Randy, just noticed this post. I met Jack Klugman briefly after watching him and Tony Randall in person in a live "Odd Couple" play out in LA. He had that goofy floppy sailor hat of his on and it was just cool watching him saunter down the street by himself in a casual manner in it after the play. Nice memory. Klugman was really low-key in that moment while Tony Randall was flamboyant, as you would expect, with all kinds of arm waving and gestures. They were such an amazing study in contrast.

As for Durning, his delivery as the love-struck suitor of Dustin Hoffman's "Tootsie" character was some of the funniest subtle stuff you'll ever see. I could watch that movie over and over for days, but especially those scenes where he was all hot for Tootsie. BTW, loved Bill Murray as Hoffman's friend in the movie too.


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Dan,

Wow, can't believe you resurrected this old post. I'm sure Klugman and Durning would smile at that.

It doesn't surprise me about how both Klugman and Randall behaved. I know Klugman was really just kind of an everyman, who liked to go to horse races and hang around with old pals. He was not a limelight guy. Tony on the other hand, as you say, loved it!! He was a ham. I used to watch him on Johnny Carson and man, you could just see the guy loved to tell stories and ham it up and eat up the crowds reaction. Not saying that in a bad way, just meaning he loved where he was and enjoyed the attention.

Durning was a funny guy. You know, fat, not a leading man type. But he had a certain charisma. When I watched him in a movie, I couldn't take my eyes off him. There was just something about that guy that got your attention. You can see why he was in so many films. He just had it going on. You're right, he was great in Tootsie and so many other films. I loved in Brother Where Art Thou when he played the Governor and walked past George Clooney and his idiot brothers and called them dumb crackers because they didn't know who he was. Just the way he said it. I grew up seeing him in so many films back in the seventies, many of them made back in the 60s too.

He was a REAL hero in WWII and experienced just horrific things that effected him his whole life and made him a staunch opponent of war. The guy was intelligent, kind, thoughtfull, introspective and not only loaded with talent, but bravery out the wazoo. He was a rare bird and such a treasure not only for those of us who loved his film career, but for the soldiers he fought with in WWII.


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Hmm...I didn't know about Durning in WWII. Interesting.

When I posted to this thread I didn't even notice how old it was. But no matter, it's a timeless subject. Thanks much. I see someone negged you for it. Go figure. Wink


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Dan,

Durning didn't just fight in WWII, he was in it up to his bloody neck. A true war hero in the most visceral sense of the word:

Durning was drafted and found himself in the Army in one of the first waves to land on the beach at Normandy on June 6, 1944, D-Day. Just nine days later he earned his first Purple Heart when he was seriously wounded by a German mine at Les Mare des Mares.

Following a six-month recovery in England, he was rushed to the front lines to fight against the German Ardennes offensive. During the Battle of the Bulge, Durning suffered wounds, this time in hand-to-hand bayonet combat for which he would later receive a second Purple Heart.

Still able to fight, Durning would earn his third Purple Heart when he moved into Germany in March with the 398th Infantry Regiment, where he was severely wounded in the chest in March 1945. Durning was then evacuated to the U.S. to spend the remainder of his time in the Army recovering until he was discharged in January 1946 as a private first class.

In addition to the Purple Hearts, Durning was awarded the Silver and Bronze Stars for valor and the World War II Victory Medal. In 2008 the French consul presented him with the National Order of the Legion of Honor.


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