Tonight sees the 65th Emmy Awards in Los Angeles and, for the first time, the In Memoriam section will be honouring five people in the industry who died within the past year. Among them is Glee star, Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in Vancouver on July 13th.
The son of the great Jack Klugman (who died aged 90 last December) has spoken publicly about the exclusion of his father in this special tribute. Now, Adam Klugman has said expressed regret at his outburst, stating that he never intended to cause hurt to the Monteith family. However, his hurt is totally understandable.
Klugman – star of The Odd Couple and Quincy (and let’s not forget his great performance as a juror in Twelve Angry Men) - was a truly great actor: a legend. He did not die alone in a hotel room in sordid circumstances and, sad as Monteith’s death undoubtedly is, we are not talking the same ball park when it comes to talent. Klugman, don't forget, won three Emmys, which makes tonight's exclusion even more disgraceful.
The only reason the Emmys are honouring Monteith is because they want to attract a substantial youth section of the audience. When Monteith died, young people were in shock, explaining that he was the first of the new generation of actors to pass, and their grief was palpable. They will, without a shadow of a doubt, be tuning in to see their hero celebrated.
Because, despite his drug use, that’s what Monteith is to them. Along with other young people whose lifestyle has led to their deaths – Amy Winehouse et al – we live in a society that, while condoning drug use, appears to celebrate it and even reward it.
Look at Lindsay Lohan. How many chances has that young woman been given? Supposedly now clean after her latest spell in rehab (although she was reported as being “the worse for wear” after a night out with friends this week), she bounces back after each court case or sentence with offers of more work at even more extortionate levels of pay.
I have every respect for people who mess up – we all do, in different ways – and then get their act together; but I wish we would celebrate and reward the talents of those who kept their act together through many decades and entertained us not with their antics off screen but what they delivered on it.
People like Jack Klugman.
So, Adam Klugman, you have no apology to make. You loved your dad, as did millions of others, and we understand your pain at what is a nonsensical decision on behalf of the Emmy organisers.
Let’s hope that some broadcaster has the foresight to put on a celebratory Jack Klugman weekend.
In my house tonight, we will be raising a glass not to Cory Monteith, but to Mr Klugman and remembering him for the star he undoubtedly was.
A true star, in every sense of the word.