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Broadway will dim its lights for two straight nights this week to honor the late actors Charles Durning and Jack Klugman, who both died on Monday. Both actors were known for their decades of television and film roles, but also made contributions to Broadway.
The Broadway League announced today that the lights will be dimmed tonight at 8:00 p.m. for a minute to honor Durning. Although Durning had been on TV before, his breakthrough role came on Broadway in 1972 with Jason Miller’s That Championship Season, in which he played a small-town mayor trying to get re-elected. In 1990, Durning starred as Big Daddy in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which earned him a Tony Award. He also starred in productions of Inherit The Wind and Gore Vidal’s ‘The Best Man.’
Durning earned two best supporting Oscar nominations for To Be Or Not To Be and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and also starred in The Sting, Tootsie and Dog Day Afternoon. He was 89.
“Charles Durning was a memorable figure on Broadway who delighted audiences in thousands of performances. It made no difference if he was an ensemble player or leading man, his talent enabled him to show the truth and reveal the story of any role,” Broadway League director Charlotte St. Martin said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Klugman, who was 90, will be honored on Friday at 8:00 p.m. The actor best known for The Odd Couple and Quincy M.E. on TV earned a Tony nomination for the original production of Gypsy in 1960. He also starred in the first production of The Odd Couple on Broadway.
“In his many stage performances, as well as on film and TV, we all felt like we knew him personally; he had that kind of approachability. As with all fine actors, he made the work look effortless. Our thoughts are with his fans, friends, and family,” Martin said about Klugman.