A lot of people have died during the last week who I would like to write about. There was Jack Klugman, of course. People remember him most from The Odd Couple. As I recall, he replaced Walter Matthau in the Broadway play after just one performance. (Don’t quote me on that, but I think so.) But when I think of Klugman, I think of him playing Juror #5 in 12 Angry Men. It is a very delicate performance and it has really stayed with me over the years.
The same day, Charles Durning died. I was never that big a fan of his, probably because of the kinds of characters that he played. I certainly thought he was good, just not someone I would actively seek out. But then he played two roles that made me love him—both in Coen Brothers films. The first was Waring Hudsucker in The Hudsucker Proxy. And the second was Pappy O’Daniel in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Both those roles take something special to perform without making a total fool of yourself.
Two days later, Gerry Anderson died. You’ve probably never heard of him. I know him because he created a number of great children’s shows that used marionettes. But in later years he was quite involved in computer animation. He was also the creator of a show my friend Will used to really like, Space: 1999. Here is the opening of his show Thunderbirds. I suspect that it will look very familiar to you:
All three men added a great deal of joy to my life as well as those of countless others. I can’t think of a better way to spend a life. Thanks guys.