This is no way to end the year. Two beloved character actors both passed away on Christmas Eve.
Any actor would be lucky to portray one truly iconic character in a career. In the 1970s and ’80s, Jack Klugman did that twice, first as Oscar Madison in the very successful TV version of ‘The Odd Couple’, and then as the title character in ‘Quincy, M.E.’. Both before and after that career peak, he was an invaluable character actor in countless television appearances. He also had some major film credits, such as Sidney Lumet’s classic ‘12 Angry Men‘ and Blake Edwards’ ‘Days of Wine and Roses’. He died on Monday at the age of 90.
Just one year Klugman’s junior, the great Charles Durning also passed on Monday. Described as the “king of character actors,” Durning had over 200 credits on his résumé, including ‘Dog Day Afternoon‘, ‘Tootsie’, ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?‘, and (most recently) a recurring role on the TV series ‘Rescue Me’. Durning was nominated for Academy Awards twice, for ‘To Be or Not to Be’ and ‘The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’. In my estimation, he’s most beloved for playing the villainous Doc Hopper in ‘The Muppet Movie’.