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A Few Words With Mr. Randall

[From WB11.com (website for TV station WPIX), in 2003]

WB11.com: Wait, before we begin, I have to know one thing... do you really hate the opening music to The Odd Couple?

Tony Randall: Can''t stand it. Hate it.

WB11: Enough said. So, Mr. Randall, it''s 2003 and did you ever think The Odd Couple would still be going as strongly as it is?

TR: Oh, no... I never imagined it would have been like this. This has been great, a real adventure.

WB11: And you still remember it all pretty well.

TR: Oh, yes. On some days more than others, but yes I do. Some shows better than others, but I still remember the all the really talented people I had the opportunity to work with.

WB11: Do you keep in touch with any of the other actors from the show?

TR: No, not really.

WB11: But, your still friends with Jack Klugman, right?

TR: Oh, yes, always have been. Jack is one of my dearest and best friends. Our friendship has pulled me through some pretty tough times. And, I know I've seen Jack through some pretty tough stuff, too.

WB11: And were you two as close when you were filming The Odd Couple shows?

TR: Yes, very much. Jack was one of my only friends at the time. Back in those days, I was married to my first wife, and we really didn't have many friends. We did everything together - movies, sitting around the house, taking walks. Plus, I didn''t make much money as an actor, my wife worked as a secretary and made almost $50 per week - that was more than I was making by far. So when I started working on The Odd Couple, Jack and I hit it off and that was so important for me, for us, so that the show had a chance.

WB11: What did you have in common?

TR: That we both wanted to make the show great, and neither of us was afraid to do the work it was going to take to get it done. We recognized that in each other, and that bonded us immediately. After that, we would help each other out all the time. Each of us pushing the other to be great.

WB11: Well, if the show''s any proof of that, I''d say you guys were extremely successful.

TR: Thank you. We are very proud of our work on The Odd Couple.

WB11: Have you worked with Jack since doing the TV show?

TR: Oh yes, on several occasions we've had the pleasure of working together on plays that the National Actors Theater has put on. We did The Odd Couple again, too... on stage.

WB11: I know Jack had a setback with his throat cancer, it must have been a real blow for you?

TR: Oh my God yes, he''s one of my dearest friends. I was devastated, but I knew if he had any chance at all, it would only be with the help of his family friends, all of us. I knew we had to be strong for him, it was the only thing that would work. So really, you see, it was an easy choice. And, Jack was great, he''s so strong. He always was.

WB11: You have been a long and ardent foe of the tobacco companies and smoking, you must have always been on Jack to quit smoking.

TR: I was, all the time. I would make him go outside of the studio to smoke, but he always would. It''s really every person''s own choice whether to smoke. Jack chose to smoke, and yes, he has had to suffer the consequences. They are just terrible consequences.

WB11: How was Jack able to do on stage with his voice as it sounds now? I've heard him, and it's a pretty gravely.

TR: Well, Jack works very hard getting his voice in shape for his performances, it sounds bad, but I know it doesn't hurt him, and it does get stronger as he goes on. I''m sure he would never let us know even if it did hurt.

WB11: Do you have any plans for working with Jack in the future?

TR: No, not right now, I''m just starting rehearsals for a new play with the National Actors Theater.

WB11: The National Actors Theater (N.A.T.), that''s just another one of your great contributions to our culture - you must be just as proud of that as you are of The Odd Couple?

TR: Even more so of the N.A.T., we've really worked hard to build it over a long, long time. We''ve done some great work at the N.A.T.

WB11: Wow, you''re already a TV icon, you''re 83, you have two young children, a new play in rehearsals - do you get tired ever?

TR: Sometimes, but I have a lot to do, the kids keep you pretty busy.

WB11: Well, Mr. Randall, thank you so much for your time, and really, even more, for all the episodes of this great show.

TR: Well, you''re welcome, but I had a lot of help with the show. You should send your thanks and thoughts to all of the truly great people that helped make The Odd Couple, as well. It was never just me and Jack.