A dynamic duo like Jack Klugman and Tony Randall doesn’t come along very often! Even though the two didn’t get off on the right foot when they first started filming The Odd Couple in 1970, it was only a matter of time until they put their differences aside and became the best of friends.
“It was like falling in love,” Tony once said about his friendship with Jack. “It’s all to do with chemistry.” The two pals were there for each other throughout all of their significant life events. When Jack lost one of his vocal cords due to throat cancer, Tony was right there for him and when Tony underwent coronary surgery, Jack always made sure his friend was OK.
“Looking back over the entire length of our friendship and our professional relationship, I could not begin to put into words the effect he has had on my life,” Tony told the Independent in 1996. “Ask me why I fell in love with my wives and I could never explain it, and I feel the same way about Jack.”
Tony wed two times. His first marriage was to Florence Gibbs in 1942 and his second marriage was to Heather Harlan in 1995. In 2004 he passed away at age 84 after contracting pneumonia and it made Jack think a lot about how their relationship ended.
“I hadn’t ever told Tony the real gift his friendship had given me,” Jack explained. “The capacity to trust another human being completely. Our friendship had made me a better human being and a better father. I let my children inside now, and I’m not afraid to let them see me as I am.”
In 2012, Jack died of prostate cancer at age 90 and his 55-year-old son Adam admits The Odd Couple will always be his father and Tony’s greatest act. “I don’t think there’s any greater legacy than that,” he said. We do too!
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