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Hearkening to TV’s Golden Age

Jack Klugman, nominated four times for “Quincy, M.E.” and the winner of two Emmys for “The Odd Couple,” is proudest of his first statuette for “The Black List,” an episode of “The Defenders.” “I’m a Depression baby and was raised on that kind of theater,” Klugman says. “I had worked with people who had been blacklisted and saw how much they had suffered. This was a beautifully written script and Stu Rosenberg is one of the best directors to work with. But when Stu offered me the role, saying, ‘I’ve got an Emmy Award-winning role for you,’ I said, ‘You guys don’t pay enough. OK, you get my wife the job playing my wife, and I’ll do it.’ So I blackmailed him into it,” Klugman says.

“The competition was so good that year — I was up against Roddy McDowall, Jason Robards, James Earl Jones and Rod Steiger. My God, just to lose to any of those people was an honor. My (then) wife, Bret, said, ‘If they should call your name, take five deep breaths so you’ll be composed.’ When they said, ‘The winner is Jack Klugman,’ I’m taking deep breaths and she’s screaming and pushing me.

“When I won for “The Odd Couple,’ we were up against ‘MASH’ and ‘All in the Family,’ which won everything but best actor for Carroll O’Connor, so I was very proud of that and needed it, because the show wasn’t going well and we probably would have been canceled.”

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