What a couple of mugs, sporting less-than-perfect physiques in the bargain.
But was there anything lovelier than Jack Klugman or Charles Durning doing what they did for an audience?
Rumpled Klugman exploding at his prissy flat-mate Tony Randall in the long-running sitcom “The Odd Couple.” Portly Durning hoofing, fleet of foot, and singing how “Ewwwww, I love to do a little sidestep” in the film “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Each was a luminous display of the extraordinary possibilities of the ordinary.
Klugman and Durning (both of whom died Monday, Klugman at 90 in Los Angeles, Durning at 89 in New York) spent storied careers building catalogues of roles that classed them indisputably as “character actors.”
Even with a certain “always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride” taint attached to it, the term “character actor” commands respect and affection among audiences, even audience members who may not quite realize their level of investment in such artistry.