Odd Couple star dies

Tony Randall also a Letterman favourite

Tony Randall, the comic actor who starred in TV”s The Odd Couple has died at the age of 84.

He died in his sleep on Monday night at New York University Medical Centre. He had been ill since December, when he developed pneumonia following heart bypass surgery.

He is survived by his wife, Heather Harlan Randall, who made him a father for the first time when he was 77, and their two children

Randall was best known for playing fastidious photographer Felix Unger in the hit Seventies sitcom based on Neil Simon’s play and film.

The show ran from 1970 to 1975, and also starred Quincy’s Jack Klugman as his slobbish flatmate Oscar Madison. The first series was shown on ITV in Britain at the time, with the remaining episodes sitting on the shelf until the BBC aired many of them from the late Eighties.

Randall won an Emmy for his role – but only after the show had been cancelled, prompting him to joke at the awards ceremony: "I'm so happy I won. Now if I only had a job."

His career also encompassed many Doris Day comedies, and he later became  a regular guest on David Letterman's talk shows, agreeing to be the fall guy in a number of ridiculous stunts.

Letterman said: 'I was lucky enough to know Tony as an actor and friend. He appeared on our show over 100 times.

"Whenever we needed a big laugh, we would bring in Tony. He always made us better for having worked with him. We will miss him very much."

Randall also appeared in a short-lived sitcom called  The Tony Randall Show, and another called Love, Sidney, where he played a closet homosexual, though this was never made explicit.

Published: 19 May 2004

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