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Tony and Me: A Story of Friendship, with DVD of "The Odd Couple" out-takes, 1971-75 Hardcover – August 31, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Klugman's brief memoir of his friendship with Tony Randall stays true to the promise the author made to himself if he ever wrote such a book: "I would never do two things: kiss and tell, and bore people with long histories of things." Boring this work isn't, as one would expect from a kid who grew up as the only Jew in a tough 1920s Italian South Philadelphia neighborhood, entered a college acting program to get away from his bookie and was cast by Garry Marshall in TV's The Odd Couple because Marshall had been impressed by seeing Klugman on Broadway in Gypsy getting spit on by Ethel Merman and not flinching. Although lacking in panache, the book does stay true to its stated intention of paying tribute to Randall, who founded the National Actors Theatre. The most endearing anecdote is that of how Randall cast Klugman in a 1991 benefit Odd Couple production, three years after Klugman had undergone throat cancer surgery and lost almost all his voice. The chapter titled "How Tony Gave My Life Back" recounts how Klugman retrained his throat and regained his career. Though amateurish, Klugman's writing possesses rare conviction and humility. Photos. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 141 pages
  • Publisher: Good Hill Press; 1st edition (August 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976830302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976830306
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #968,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Steinhilber on October 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The book "Tony and Me: A Story Friendship" is Jack Klugman's loving tribute to his long time co-star and dear friend the late Tony Randall. The book covers the extent of their decades long friendship from their first meeting on the set of a 1950's TV show, to their days on "The Odd Couple", to Mr. Klugman's battle with cancer and ultimately with the passing of Mr. Randall in 2004.

Although the book is not autobiographical Mr. Klugman, nonetheless, does spend the first couple of chapters detailing the path he took to become an actor. If you are a fan of "The Odd Couple" or Jack Klugman these chapters will provide some interesting incite into the man. The author spends the balance of the book recounting various stories and anecdotes of their career together.

The book is short (less than 150 pages) and I was able to read it in a single sitting. It is an at times a funny and very touching book. I found myself laughing out loud more than once and even getting choked up on a couple of occasions. The love Jack Klugman feels for Tony Randall is palpable as you read through portions of this book.

As a bonus, the book comes with a DVD containing out takes from the "The Odd Couple". This 15 minute DVD, introduced by Jack Klugman, contains some extremely funny out takes from the series. It alone is worth the price of the book.

If you are a fan of "The Odd Couple", or Jack Klugman, or Tony Randall or just of classic TV I highly recommend this book. The investment of time needed to read it is minor compared with the enjoyment you with derive.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Julie A Ross on October 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Odd Couple is one of my all-time favorite TV shows (and movies). I knew this book was written by Jack Klugman, and that it came with an outtakes DVD. That alone was enough for me to make my way down to the bookstore and get. What I didn't know, however, was the great details of Jack and Tony's friendship, which extended far beyond The Odd Couple. When Jack Klugman had surgery for throat cancer, it was Tony Randall who helped him regain his career. When Tony Randall was ill during the last few months of his life, it was Jack Klugman who was right by his side. That is true friendship, and that is the basis of Klugman's book. Then there's the DVD. It is hilarious, and shows a side of Oscar and Felix you never saw in the series itself. Although The Odd Couple series is not officially out on DVD yet, I have the complete blue VHS set issued by Columbia House in the 1990s. This DVD is a great compliment to those tapes. This is the absolute best book I've ever taken the time to read. Any fan of The Odd Couple or Tony Randall will love it too.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A.Trendl VINE VOICE on October 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jack Klugman. Tony Randall. Those are two names known to anyone over 35, and to plenty of people younger, thanks to the legendary TV series, "The Odd Couple." Fewer of us know about their extended career acting on stage before and long after the series. In between those years, a complex relationship was built that did not follow the Hollywood style.

"Tony And Me: A Story of Friendship" gives Jack Klugman's point of view on how they interacted and grew closer. Beginning before anyone heard of them, and ending with Tony's death in May 2004, it developed a richness that I envy.

Klugman self-published "Tony and Me," knowing that more profit would be made available for Randall's beloved National Actors Theater. The fact that Klugman did not rely on a bevy of editors and marketers shape what he said created a personal voice that avoids patting himself on the back and indulging in name-dropping. Instead, he comes across conversational and friendly.

Klugman explains how he and Randall saw life differently, not too dissimilarly as Oscar and Felix, but that it was their common love and training in theater that connected them.

He never delves into kiss and tell, sparing us from any lurid gossip that may have surrounded either in the heyday. Like a eulogy, he tells fond stories of the two of them together, and, most of all, why Randall mattered in his life.

One significant story Klugman tells is about his throat cancer, and subsequent surgery that dealt a blow to his voice. Randall was the one who encouraged him most to return to theater. Without a decent voice, this would be impossible, but Randall let Klugman know he would help him get back on stage if he wanted to try.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on December 6, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This slim volume speaks in a voice much louder than Jack Klugman has been able to muster in recent years.

Klugman, whose portrayal of the sloppy everyman, Oscar Madison, was the perfect compliment to Tony Randall's fussbudget Felix Unger, writes a moving ode to his pal in TONY AND ME, a simple and extremely warm memoir. Giving only the briefest of youthful self-reference, Klugman's sole purpose is to let the reader and fans of "The Odd Couple" realize what a mensch Randall was.

Despite being an actor of some renown before and after the syndicated favorite, Klugman would rather tout the virtues of Randall and a supportive and multi-dimensional friend than toot his own horn.

After some initial stumbles in working on "The Odd Couple," Randall and Klugman developed a relationship of mutual respect and affection rare in the world these days, let alone the entertainment industry. After the show was canceled, they maintained their friendship and worked together often. When Klugman developed throat cancer, Randall was there with words of encouragement to a remarkable degree, even going so far as to help Klugman return to the profession, casting him in numerous productions at his National Actors Theatre.

When the tables were turned, and Randall became ill, Klugman was similarly there for his ailing partner.

Klugman, who teamed up with Burton Rocks, co-writer of the bestselling MY DAD AND ME (the autobiography of former New York Yankees player Paul O'Neill) probably could have sold his story to any major house but preferred to self-publish because, as he writes, "I needed to be sure it was done right...I instinctively didn't like the idea of handing [the book] to someone I didn't know.
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