Klugman started his career on the stage in summer stock and off-Broadway,, which lead to appearances on a number of live television productions that originated in New York. His first two film roles were in fairly forgettable fare – the western Grubstake (1952) and the crime drama Time Table (1956). His first major screen role was that of Juror #5 in 1957’s 12 Angry Men, one of an impressive ensemble of actors that include Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb. Klugman was the last surviving member of that ensemble cast.
Although a majority of Klugman’s career continued on in television and on-stage, he did appear in a number of films including 1962’s Days Of Wine And Roses, 1968’s The Detective and 1969’s Goodbye, Columbus.
Klugman found his most famous role in the slovenly Oscar Madison, one half of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. Krugman first played the part in the original 1965b Broadway production, stepping into the role when Walter Matthau left the show in November of that year. He was tapped for the role again when the play was adapted into a sitcom, where he starred opposite Tony Randall. The show ran for six years and earned Klugman two Emmys. He followed up The Odd Couple with a seven year run as the tough LA coroner Quincy.