|A number from Annie Get Your Gun was the perfect|
vehicle for these vets. Sadly, no record remains.
The story goes that Durning was slated to sing "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better" with Bobbie Gentry on the Glen Campbell show, but at the last moment, Gentry had a hair emergency and withdrew. Like the trooper he always was, Klugman, who was across the hall filming The Odd Couple, agreed to sub, and the duet went on.
|Bobbie Gentry's hair malfunction led to|
the infamous duet which has been lost.
This story is surprising for a number of reasons, chief being that Jack Klugman did not consider himself musically talented. He had such a low opinion of his gifts in that area, in fact, that he actively discouraged writers Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim from creating a solo for his starring role in the original Gypsy. Generations of subsequent Herbies have cursed Klugman for his resistance to singing; the role is the very rare Leading Man In A Musical which does not have a solo song.
|I won't sing, don't ask me. Klugman's refusal to sing has cursed future generations of Herbies.|
|Durning's Broadway debut was in the flop|
The au Pair Man, opposite Julie Harris.
They reteamed decades later for Gin Game.
He first gained recognition in the Broadway production of That Championship Season, and he won the Tony as Big Daddy in 1980's revival of Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, in a production which was apparently sunk by Kathleen Turner's clueless performance as Maggie. He moved easily between stage and screen, and between comedic and heavier roles.
|Charles was harried as the cop dealing with Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon. The actor just over his right shoulder is Matthew Broderick's father.|
|When the revival of The Gin Game blew through DC, I took the opportunity to see Julie Harris in one of her final stage roles. Durning gave able support.|
|Durning romanced Maureen Stapleton in the TV film Queen of the Stardust Ballroom. When the piece was adapted for Broadway, Vincent Guardenia took his role. When the show was revamped in Long Beach, Durning took the role back.|
|Tootsie is full of fine performances, including Charles Durning as the lonely widower who unexpectedly falls for a transvestite.|