NOV. 3, 1921-AUG. 30, 2003

By EW Staff
Updated December 26, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Farewell: Jack Klugman pays tribute to Charles Bronson

In ’48 and ’49, Charlie and I were starving actors, selling blood for five bucks and living in one room on 113th and Broadway. Fourteen rooms on a floor, one bathroom. We paid seven bucks a week for the room. No sun, no scene, no nothing. His bed was on one side, mine was on the other. We were wonderful roommates. But when you live that close to someone, you become the Odd Couple.

He was the Felix. He was very neat and clean. He was a damn good ironer. You’d see those muscles pumping out. You’d never see a wrinkle on that shirt.

We’d first met working together in Atlantic City for Ed McMahon’s father. His father ran this bingo house, and Charlie was on the microphone. Oh, he loved that: ”N, 33!” And I collected the dimes. He told me he was going to become an actor, so I said, ”Charlie, come and live with me in New York.”

Charlie was not easy to get to know. Very, very private. We formed a nice friendship, but it was never binding. It was just a nice, good friendship, very loyal. (Bronson died of pneumonia in Los Angeles.)