Fans of Jack Klugman are rallying around his son Adam following Sunday night’s Emmy Awards ceremony, which failed to pay homage to the late “Odd Couple” star despite saving time for a teary tribute to Cory Monteith of "Glee."
The younger Klugman, who works as a freelance editor near Portland, Ore., had slammed the Television Academy for the omission, calling it “criminal” in an interview with the Associated Press. He also took offense at the decision to pay tribute to Monteith, who died of a heroin overdose in July at the age of 31, calling it “typical of this youth-centric culture that has an extremely short attention span and panders to only a very narrow demographic.” (Klugman was included in the "In Memorium" segment dedicated to industry professionals who passed away in the last year, but was not given a dedicated tribute.)
Fans of Klugman’s father seem to agree with his son. Since the interview, they’ve been flooding Adam Klugman’s Facebook page with messages of support, calling his dad a “genius” whose contributions to stage, film and television far eclipse those of Monteith.
“A huge mistake was made when Cory Monteith was specially honored because of his early death from drugs,” one supporter wrote. “Whom are they trying to appeal to, certainly not our generation who grew up with ‘normal’ people who were very talented, such as your dad.”
“I so very much agree with your comments regarding your father’s contribution to the industry,” wrote another. “It is an insult to omit him over a newcomer whose death came as a result of his own undoing.”
The well-wishes quickly descended into a flame war, however. When some users impolitely referred to Monteith as a “drug addict” who died a “self-indulgent death,” others jumped to the “Glee” star’s defense.
“I get that everyone is upset, but that ‘drug addict’ was also a person,” one user wrote. “I am guessing you don't have personal experience with addiction. It is not Cory’s fault that Jack was omitted.”
Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on July 13. A coroner’s report later revealed his death to be the result of mixed-drug toxicity consisting of heroin and alcohol. Jane Lynch, his “Glee” costar, paid tribute to Monteith during Sunday night’s Emmy telecast, which also included tributes to James Gandolfini, Gary David Goldberg, Jean Stapleton and Jonathan Winters.
Klugman, who died in December 2012 at the age of 90, had a show business career that spanned more than five decades. He is mostly remembered for playing Oscar Madison in the 1970s sitcom “The Odd Couple” as well as the title character in the medical drama “Quincy, M.E.”
Monteith’s mother, Ann McGregor, took issue with the younger Klugman’s comments, in an interview with TMZ, saying of her son, “If he had lived 30 more years he would have accomplished much more.”
Did the Emmys screw up by honoring Monteith over Klugman? Watch Lynch’s tribute below and judge for yourself.