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Ovation: In Support Of Adam Klugman.

09/22/2013

InMemoriamAwards season is once again upon us and, after last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards were presented, continues tonight with a live broadcast of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards on CBS.

Four-time Emmy-nominated actor Neil Patrick Harris returns as host but, this time, he’ll also be co-producing with Ken Ehrlich.

One of the decisions that the producers have made has caused a bit of controversy.  In addition to the traditional “in memoriam” segment, the telecast will pay special tribute to late Sopranos actor James Gandolfini, Family Ties producer Gary David Goldberg, Glee star Cory Monteith, All in the Family cast member Jean Stapleton and Mork and Mindy actor Jonathan Winters.

Adam Klugman, son of Jack Klugman who died last December at the age of 90, is particularly upset by this decision and I tend to agree with him.

“The exclusion of Jack Klugman from an Emmy Awards tribute that includes Cory Monteith is an insult to the memory of the late TV veteran and three-time Emmy winner who starred in The Odd Couple and Quincy M.E..  It’s an insult and it really seems typical of this youth-centric culture that has an extremely short attention span and panders to only a very narrow demographic of young adults.  I think it’s criminal.  My dad was at the inception of television and helped build it in the early days.” –  Adam Klugman

Monteith, who was thirty-one years old when he died of a drug overdose last July, is by far the youngest of the special group and had yet to be nominated for an Emmy in his short career while the others have all won the award.  Notable Emmy nominees who died last year, including Larry Hagman of Dallas and Charles Durning of Evening Shade, won’t receive separate tributes but will still be included in the group remembrance.

“To a younger generation, Cory Monteith’s portrayal of Finn Hudson (on Glee) was highly admired, and the producers felt that he should be included along with the four other individuals we have singled out.” – Ken Ehrlich.

The “in memoriam” segments of awards shows are often a source of controversy since, sometimes, an individual who passed away during the preceding year is inadvertently overlooked or omitted from the tribute.  When this happens, it upsets fans, friends, colleagues and family alike, but I think this is an honest mistake and should be overlooked.  Surely, this is never done intentionally.

Perhaps the decision to single out five television actors who passed away this year was done to boost ratings, specifically drawing younger viewers with the inclusion of Monteith, but I, like Adam Klugman, find it to be in poor taste.

What do you think?  Do those five deserve special tribute more than any others?  Is Monteith being included just to boost ratings?

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9 Comments
  1. They can’t do special tributes to all those who died, and these four seem to be kind of a cross-section of ages and talents and genres and fields.

    But it does seem odd to single just certain people out for a tribute.

    All the backlash against Monteith is unwarranted though, because I think his inclusion has to do with the suddenness of his death, and the loss of what might have been–the same with Gandofini.
    Still, like I said, it’s hard to pick and choose who gets singled out, but for Klugman’s son to be all pissy is a bit annoying. I kind of imagine that his father wouldn’t care about it at all.

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  2. Barneysday permalink

    Monteith has been in one TV show. Klugman has been in two, very popular series, as well as countless movies. He was an established actor who earned his awards and credits. I tend to agree with young Klugman that this is just an overt ratings reach to the younger viewers. But it is in bad taste, in my mind.

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    • It feels as if they’re somehow exploiting the young actor’s tragic suicide to generate ratings.

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      • Barneysday permalink

        I totally agree. Monteith’s history of drug abuse is a sad story, one of perhaps too much trappings of success, too soon. But in the end, the show, the emmys, the general TV media has done nothing but exploit the situation to their advantage. Where is the background of what drove him to use drugs, the pressures he may have faced, etc?

        Great post

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  3. I loved watching Jack Klugman in Quincy ME and as Oscar. But, one of my favorite roles for him was in Henry Fonda’s classic “Twelve Angry Men” one of the best movies I have seen. I do think singling people out is unfair as there is always someone on the other side of the list. I have tended to reflect well when they have shown picture by picture those who have passed and linger for a few seconds as it soaks in. Oftentimes, you forgot they passed or did not know. That is more fitting to me. Nice post, BTG

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  4. Now that the show is over, I have to say the whole special tribute (whether you agreed with who was selected or not) was just not a good idea at all. The show felt like one long funeral with a trophy being handed out here and there. As one friend tweeted “Award! Death! Award! Death! Song! Death!” it just made the whole evening very somber and disjointed. I hope they drop that whole thing in the future and just go back to the standard montage.

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  5. I don’t believe Cory Monteith deserved special tribute, especially when he died doing something illegal & self-destructive. Young people should aspire to this?

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