“Glee” fans may appreciate the special tribute to the late star Cory Monteith at the Emmys on Sunday, but at least one group isn’t so happy.
That would be the family of Jack Klugman, the actor who starred in two big 1970s hits, “The Odd Couple” and “Quincy, M.E.,” and who died last December.
Klugman’s son Adam is calling out the Emmy organizers for extending a special honor to Monteith -- the Canadian actor who died in July of heroin and alcohol poisoning at age 31 -- while tossing his father into the routine “In Memoriam” reel that will include many lesser-known actors and behind-the-scenes personnel.
Referring to Monteith’s overdose, Adam Klugman said in an interview: “They’re celebrating this self-inflicted tragedy instead of celebrating the life of my father, who won three Emmys.... Cory Monteith never won an Emmy.”
Klugman emphasized he has nothing against Monteith and in fact is a “Glee” fan. But “to compare the contribution he made to the contribution my father made -- it doesn’t compare,” he said.
This year, for the first time, Emmy organizers have decided to beef up the “In Memoriam” section with special tributes to five notable TV figures who died this year. The other honorees are writer-producer Gary David Goldberg, comic legend Jonathan Winters, and actors James Gandolfini and Jean Stapleton.
Klugman is not the only noteworthy name missing from the list. Many critics were also surprised that organizers left off Larry Hagman, whose portrayal of J.R. Ewing on the original “Dallas” is one of TV’s iconic performances.
Asked for comment, Emmys executive producer Ken Ehrlich responded with a statement:
“Every generation of television viewers has its favorites, and when we decided to expand the ‘In Memoriam’ segment to remember certain individuals, we wanted these pieces to be representative as well. To a younger generation, Cory Monteith’s portrayal of Finn Hudson was highly admired, and the producers felt that he should be included along with the four other individuals we have singled out.”
Klugman scoffs at that explanation, saying that producers are side-stepping the real issue.
“Let’s call this what it is,” he said. “They’re doing this because they think they’re gonna get a younger generation of viewers to watch.”
What do you think? Did Jack Klugman deserve the special tribute? Or are producers right to honor Monteith?