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Jack Klugman (1922 - 2012): How Television Shows Have Advanced the Work Of Criminology and Forensics

Updated on September 21, 2013
Much information is available from a thumbprint.
Much information is available from a thumbprint. | Source

Jack Klugman Snubbed at the Emmys 2013

Jack Klugman's son, Adam, and the rest of the family became vocal about Klugman's snubbing by the 2013 Emmy Awards producers.

Despite a legendary career in television and films, along with his large contribution to the development of forensics in crime investigation, Jack Klugman was relegated to a few seconds in the usual In Memorium segment of the awards show. It was a quick scan of actors and those behind the cameras that died in 2012.

Klugman was not selected as one of five recently deceased stars to be paid special tribute, but Cory Montieth of Glee was selected, having never won an Emmy and having poisoned himself with substance abuse. Not only the Klugman Family is angry. Other fans of The Odd Couple with Tony Randall and the show that helped spur the creation of the CSI, Jag, and NCIS franchises, Quincy M.E., are angry as well. Some angry people are comparing the tribute to Corey Montieth with the flag-lowering done for Whitney Houston, who died of a drug overdose; they say both are ludicrous.

Some angry people say that only drug-crazed young stars are honored by today's society, especially those stars aged 30 and younger. I'd like to hear what Twelve Angry Men in a jury would say about it.

Randall and Klugman


The Good Of Television: Changing the World

Two television shows helped to advance the field of criminology and the use of forensics to a greater extent that any other two series before or after. The first was Earle Stanley Gardner's The Court of Last Resort in the 1950s and the second was Jack Klugman's Quincy, M.E., from 1976 - 1983, before DNA research had advanced enough to be applicable to the law.

Actor Jack Klugman, son of Russian immigrants, was impressed by movements toward increased social justice in his childhood and translated his appreciation of them into his television series.

At one point this actor was called to testify before the US Congress about crime and criminal investigation procedures. His testimony was one that helped to advance the development of forensics, not to mention forensic Tv shows.

He made television count for something important to the welfare of humankind. Unfortunately, Jack Klugman died on Christmas Eve afternoon in California in 2012.

Forensic TV Today

Two shows that delve most deeply into medical forensics in the 2010s are Body of Proof and Bones. Others include NCIS and the CSI franchise.


Jack Klugman lost his voice following vocal cord surgery to remedy cancer in the 1980s, but learned to speak again.

Truth and Accuracy In Forensics

The Innocence Project begun in 1996 was the first highly publicized effort to dig into Death Row cases and save innocent people from execution. However, it was Earle Stanley Gardner, trial attorney and writer, who pioneered this concept early on in the first half of the 20th Century.

The Court of Last Resort as an organization formed in 1948 on the strength of Gardner's expertise in crime investigation and criminal defense, his fight against paid expert witnesses that lied on the witness stand, and his dogged determination to clear his clients' names by finding out who really did commit the crimes involved.

Gardner built a network of professional relationships in criminal investigation and prosecution in the United States and chose one or two of these professionals to whom to dedicate each of his Perry Mason novels. One person recognized was the investigator Frances Lee, who succeeded in developing the "nutshell" reconstruction method of crime scenes and in teaching forensics classes before women were widely accepted in law enforcement overall.

An example of the latter problem for women is portrayed in the series Life on Mars in the 1970s police department sequences. A woman officer working her way into a detective slot is verbally diminished and called names by male officers until she is promoted. it is not attractive to see and hear. Gardner, however, showcased all good investigators in his books, at law and crime conventions, and in government meetings, no matter what the gender.

An education can be had in reading Gardner's book dedications and forwards alone. If law enforcement is corrupt anywhere in the USA now, it was much more so back then, and Gardner is responsible in part for righting many aspects of it. In fact, today's law classes often adopt a Death Row case each year in order to ensure that free men and women are not executed or confined to life sentences in error.

Earle Stanley Gardner died in 1970. Otherwise, he would have dedicated one of his next novels to Jack Klugman for his work on Quincy, M.E.

Orphan drugs might be able to help a large number of people. Jack Klugman thought so.
Orphan drugs might be able to help a large number of people. Jack Klugman thought so. | Source

Orphan Drugs

One of the situations that galled Jack Klugman in the medical world was the existence of orphan drugs, a subject handled in a Quincy episode. These are drugs that can be used to treat rare illnesses successfully, but which are not used often enough to make profits for pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, the drugs are not manufactured, causing people with associated rare illnesses to die, because the drugs have not been produced, but could be produced. Jack testified in Congress in 1982 on this matter, with positive results. Many other medical and social issues were addressed during the course of Quincy,M.E.

Jack Klugman (1922 - 2012)

Jack Klugman, Who Entertained and Helped Change the World.
Jack Klugman, Who Entertained and Helped Change the World. | Source


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      rebeccamealey - The Odd Couple was a really entertaining show and I miss seeing it. Sometimes the "oldies" TV channels have reruns, tho.

      Shyron E. Shenko - I do remember "Days of Wine and Roses" and Jack Klugman's part as an AA sponsor, now that you mention it. I need to read through his bibliography of work and see what else I can remember. Thanks for the reminder! Thanks for sharing the information as well. Let's see how many people remember Jack Klugman.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      I like Quincy, and I liked Jack Klugman in "Days of Wine and Roses." I know he was not the star, but he had a good role.

      Patty you did an excellent job on this, voted up ++++, shared and pinned on my Awesome HubPages Board.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I enjoyed this! I have always really liked Jack Klugman, I love the Odd Couple episodes. Thanks for sharing such a well-researched Hub!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi drbj - Some actors and writers are simply ignored for their important work while they are alive, or the public does not realize what they have done. Did you see "12 Angry Men"? I liked that very much as well.

      As far as the ankle - it came apart completely into a compound fracture after several twistings and other mishaps - it sort of blew up. The swelling after surgery was the worst bit - took a long time to remove permanently. I have almost total movement now, though, more than doctors predicted. Thanks for asking!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      What a wonderful tribute, Patty, to Jack Klugman - a dedicated actor and a remarkable man. I adored him in every movie and TV program he graced. Thanks for all this new information about him and his work.

      BTW, can't help but wonder - how does one 'smash' an ankle? Sounds disastrous!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I knew nothing about Earle Stanley Gardner until I began reading his several series of novels while recuperating from a smashed ankle. His introductions and dedications led me to search through my own criminology notes and important information at agencies and online. His book dedications, always essay-length were an education in themselves - much more than one expects from Perry Mason reruns on TV.

      I wonder why Gardner is not mentioned in all law and criminology classes across the nation since he also taught seminars at the college level. I guess this is what happens when there is no one loft to remember what happened ...or to read antique books that will never be online or on Kindle. No wonder history is so easily revised every decade! We hope advances in forensics and criminology continue, regardless of who recieved credit, but the whole "get people off death row" began much earlier than the late 1990s - like 50 years earlier.

      Unfortunately, Detroit lost its advances in forensics for the most part, in my opinion, when their own crime lab was closed becuase of cost savings measures in the city. I wonder how many cities are facing the same problem? And, what cities really have all the technology shown on the CSIs and Bones? If they do, is is used accurately? So, we have back and forth progress-regress. Jack Klugman took the initiative to kick it all forward and I respect that more than I enjoy his great funny work in The Odd Couple - and I love that.

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 5 years ago from Central Texas

      Great piece -- I was unaware of Gardner's efforts or Jack Klugman's -- we owe a debt of thanks to both! Happy New Year! Best/Sis

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

      Thank you for writing this informative Hub.

    • leeba ann varghes profile image

      Leeba Ann Varghese 5 years ago from India


    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      what a great hub.. Quincy MD was one of my favorite TV shows.. thank you for all this information about him.. He was before his time..

      many blessings

      Happy New Year



    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Patty great hub and tribute to Jack Klugman, always loved the show Quincy, M.E and anything else he did. I first seen him on the Twilight Zone . I enjoyed reading this interesting hub and did not know that the show Quincy, M.E had helped to development forensics to a better degree that it was at the time . Well done !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Excellent article on a subject that I find interesting. Thank you for your timely Hub featuring Jack Klugman (R.I.P.)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for a great hub. Nice to read a piece showing the good in folks.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      I voted up and awesome because excellent isn't there. A well deserved tribute to a great man with some interesting and little known facts!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I loved the show Quincy... we often watch reruns. You can tell that his passion is real on the show. That is too bad about drugs that could save lives. We live in money making society..which is not all bad...but a little help for those who need this...Great and well researched hub. Voting UP+++ and sharing.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      Thanks for this very interesting piece. I never realized that Jack Klugman testified before Congress. I also never heard of orphan drugs. I always learn something new from your work. Up, interesting and awesome.