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The pair's passionate involvement with characterization suggests, rightly, that each sees himself in his part. About the only discrepancy is that both are long and apparently happily married. Randall, 46, like Felix, is compulsively neat; he is never without a Chap Stick ("a touch of security") and preaches against smoking. "You'll hate me for it," he explained to Klugman after ordering him to douse his cigar. "But you'll be a much better man." Randall's other causes are opera, ballet and peace politics. He was a friend of Jack and Bob Kennedy, campaigned for Eugene McCarthy, and is now working for such antiwar candidates as New York Congressman Allard Lowenstein. Fans should not be misled by his old Doris Day movies, his recordings of "mothball music" just this side of Tiny Tim, and his nutball performances on TV talk shows. Tony Randall is a serious actor whose dream is to wind up in a good repertory company.
Gidget's Vibrator. Klugman, 48, like Oscar, claims to be a slob. But, says Randall, "he really isn't," although his dressing room does look like a locker room, and his dress is sloppy. After Lyndon Johnson "let me down," Klugman's major commitments have been apolitical playing the horses and his work. Long a highly regarded character actor (he and Randall first met in the cast of a Philco Playhouse drama 20 years ago), Jack became more widely known in films following his role as Ali McGraw's father in Goodbye, Columbus.
Like so many of their New York-trained colleagues, Randall and Klugman loathe Hollywood and were overjoyed to be back East last week, after wrapping up their 15th show. As has often been proved, the good usually die young on TV, and the shaky ratings so far give no guarantee that Klugman and Randall will be recalled to the Coast to shoot No. 16. But the show is climbing and should continue to move up once the opposing CBS movie series runs out of blockbuster films (Butterfield 8, The Dirty Dozen so far). "Just watch us," says Randall, "when CBS is down to Gidget Buys a Vibrator.'"
Klugman, though admitting that "if I'm ever going to get rich, it's going to be in a series," is philosophical about the ratings sweepstakes. "I wouldn't want a success doing a cockamamie show I couldn't respect," he says. "If Tony and I fail, we have failed first-class."