Jack Klugman and Gerry Anderson die

Two towering figures of entertainment have died over the festive season. Jack Klugman, star of TV’s The Odd Couple and forerunner to the likes of CSI in his role as Quincy ME and Gerry Anderson, creator of Thunderbirds, Stingray and Captain Scarlet are sadly no longer with us.

Klugman was a people’s champion on screen and his gritty, gruff demeanour always had something of the rebel about him. His slobby, sloppy persona as Oscar Madison in the Odd Couple was a constant source of irreverent hilarity and his crusading role as no nonsense medical examiner Quincy endeared him to millions. Having lost his voice to throat cancer in the 1980s and learned to speak again, Klugman died with his wife at his side.

His son Adam Klugman said: “He had a great life and he enjoyed every moment of it and he would encourage others to do the same,” as tributes poured in from around the entertainment world.

Gerry Anderson created some of the most iconic programmes in television history. Thunderbirds was a tour de force, nestled culturally somewhere in the mid Atlantic. Combining the context of the nascent space age and the futuristic atmosphere of the era, he injected wit, humour, adventure quirkyness into his extraordinary puppet world. Often setting epic scenes on a space the size of a table, he took puppet based television to a whole new level and to this day, his programmes remain cult classics.

The news was announced on his son Jamie Anderson's website. He wrote: "I'm very sad to announce the death of my father, Thunderbirds creator, Gerry Anderson. He died peacefully in his sleep at midday today (26th December 2013), having suffered with mixed dementia for the past few years. He was 83."

He requested that any fans wishing to make donations in honour of his father should make them to the Alzheimer's Society.

They will both be sorely missed

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