Friday, January 18, 2008

Tony Randall and Jack Klugman

Tony Randall and
Jack Klugman

I am a huge fan of The Odd Couple (remember the sitcom starring Jack Klugman as messy Oscar and Tony Randall as neat Felix) and as a matter of fact, while I write this blog, I have the DVD playing on the TV next to me and I can watch it all day long. Years ago, I had a brief encounter with Tony Randall. He had visited Philip Morris, where I use to work years ago, regarding a partnership on a project that he was working on. I met him, he was very gracious and I got (and still have) his autograph. I was thrilled when I was searching the Internet one night and found that Jack Klugman had self-published a book called Tony and Me: a story of friendship.

In this book, Jack talks about the love that Tony Randall had for the theater and how hard he worked to create the National Actors Theater in 1991. Randall and Klugman would often give up their own salaries when they did performances of The Odd Couple on tour to donate the proceeds to the Theater, and Randall would donate millions of his own money so that this Theater could exist. Read more about it
here. According to the website for the Tony Randall Theatrical Fund, Randall distributed 40,000 free tickets for students to see the productions at his theatre and sent teaching artists into the schools to prepare the children for their experiences. He also spent many hours volunteering himself for organizations. The site explains that, "The kids were always Tony's favorite audiences and The Tony Randall Theatrical Fund is pleased to announce the formation of the Tony's For Kid's Grants for educating public school children in the arts."

I love Broadway musicals and I love the theater and The Odd Couple is one of those shows for me that will never end...I was like a little kid when I found out it was on DVD. I'm glad for one brief moment I got to meet Tony Randall and ask for his autograph. If I knew then the kind of work he did and how much of his own income and time he dedicated to the cause, I would've said, "Thank you for all that you do." Jack Klugman wrote a book that really shows you the type of friendship they both had and the fact they would do anything for each other.
Today, Tony's dedication to the theater lives on with grants and scholarships and more. PLEASE go to this site and read more about it and see if there's anything you can do to help -- Tony Randall Theatrical Fund.

No comments: