People would go on about the "chemistry" between TONY RANDALL and me on The Odd Couple. But the chemistry really came out of the work. By the time the show began in 1970, we had 65 years of experience on the stage between us. We knew what we were doing. We'd start with a script every Monday, and maybe out of 40 pages only six would remain by week's end. We'd improvise, and the writers would rewrite, and the next day we'd go with what they had written. At the end of every season, we'd hear we were canceled. We'd be in the bottom 10 or in 52nd place. That went on for five years.
The Felix Unger role gave Tony a kind of recognition he liked. But he hated when people asked him if, like Felix, he was really neat. He'd get very sarcastic and say, "Oh, what a wonderful question!" Of course, the answer is no. But Tony was one of those guys who could buy a pair of pants for $2 and they would look like they came from Brooks Brothers. Whereas if I bought pants at Brooks Brothers, they would look like they cost $2. Whatever refinement I have was placed there by Tony.
If Tony resented the Felix Unger label, it was because he had done so many other things. His dream was to bring good, classic theater to America through repertory companies. He was outraged that it was not subsidized by the government. He said he would set up the National Actors Theater in New York, and nobody believed him, including me. And by God, he did it. He was like Don Quixote fighting the windmills, and thank God he did. During his last few years, he was the happiest actor I ever knew.
--By Jack Klugman