Jack Klugman, best known as the messy sports writer Oscar Madison in TV's "The Odd Couple," died Monday, his son Adam said. He was 90.
Klugman, who won two Emmys for his role in the early 1970s sitcom, also starred in "Quincy M.E." as Medical Examiner Dr. R. Quincy from 1976 to 1983.
He told Larry King in 2001 that he played Madison on Broadway before the TV show debuted.
"So when (executive producer) Garry Marshall called me, I thought he'd seen me do it on Broadway and that's why he wanted me. He said, 'No, I never saw you.' I said, 'So why did you want me?' He said, 'Well, I saw you in 'Gypsy' and Ethel Merman was singing to you, and she was spitting all over you.' '
Marshall continued, Klugman said: " 'You know, that's a good actor, he's not showing that she's spitting all over him.' That's why he hired me."
When asked by King if he had a natural simpatico with co-star Tony Randall, Klugman said: "Oh, yeah, it happened so beautifully."
He said the two made up a lot of the script on the spot.
"He would provoke you into saying something funny. That's true improvisation," he told King. "It was wonderful. I had a great time. I learned a lot."
Randall, who died in 2004, was succinct.
"It just clicked," he told King.
Klugman and Randall later reunited for the 1999 Broadway play, "Sunshine Boys," according to the Internet Movie Database website.
Klugman was first married to the late Brett Somers, an actress and frequent game show panelist, from 1953 to 2007, the website said.
At the time of his death he was married to former actress Peggy Crosby, whom he married in 2008.