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Tony Randall was an actor who played popular television character Felix Unger on the hit series The Odd Couple.
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TV audiences may best remember Tony Randall as buttoned-up Felix Unger in the popular show The Odd Couple, which ran from 1970 to 1975. Randall enjoyed an extensive TV career that included regular appearances on talk shows, series and his own sitcom The Tony Randall Show. In 1991, Randall created the National Actors Theater, a New York-based repertory company devoted to American and British classics.
Actor Tony Randall was born Leonard Rosenberg on February 26, 1920 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After graduating from Northwestern University where he studied drama, Randall moved to New York City to attend Columbia University and train at the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse. He was soon drafted into the Army to serve in the Signal Corps during World War II. When the war was over, Randall resumed his career as a radio actor, most notably in the role of Reggie on the adventure serial I Love a Mystery.
Randall made his name on Broadway in the 1950s, starring in the musical Oh, Captain and Inherit the Wind. He also found success in the early days of television co-starring as school teacher Harvey Weskit in Mr. Peepers (1952-1953). For playing the sidekick to Wally Cox's shy Mr. Peepers, Randall earned an Emmy nomination and became a popular TV star.
While busy acting in the the theater and television, Randall also made his film debut in 1957 in Oh, Men, Oh Women, and followed that film with the comedy Pillow Talk in 1959 and Lover Come Back in 1961. Though he received his share of forgettable starring film roles, including Fluffy in 1964, he earned critical acclaim for his work in the film The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao.
While Randall played many characters in his long career, audiences may best remember him for his role starring as buttoned-up Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, which was based on a Neil Simon play about two divorced men living together. As the fastidious photographer Felix, Randall was the perfect neat freak foil to his roommate, the lovable slob sports writer Oscar Madison, played by Jack Klugman. The show ran from 1970 to 1975 and won both actors Emmy awards for their portrayals of the classic TV characters.
In addition to appearing on numerous game and talk shows, Randall enjoyed an extensive television career that included his own short-lived TV series called The Tony Randall Show (1976) and Love, Sidney (1981-1983).
Active in several liberal and humanitarian causes, Randall often put his career on the line to let his opinions be known. He delivered an anti-Vietnam speech in the late 1960s and had been known to speak out against the dangers of cigarette smoking. He was also the National Chairman of the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation, which raised funds for an incurable neuromuscular disease.
In 1991, Randall created the National Actors Theater, a New York-based repertory company devoted to American and British classics.
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