The History of The Odd Couple

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 8:00 am

“The Odd Couple” is coming back to television, starring “Friends'” Matthew Perry as the slob and writer/actor Thomas Lennon as the neatnik. The long-running television series starred Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. There have also been versions with a black odd couple, a female odd couple, and even an animated cat and dog odd couple.

But before that, it was a Broadway play and then a movie starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. And before that, it was kind of a true story.

Neil Simon, the most successful comic playwright of the last half-century, wrote the play based on his brother, comedy writer Danny Simon, who moved in with a friend following his divorce. It may also have been inspired in part by Mel Brooks (who was a writer with both Simon brothers on Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows”). He also briefly lived with a friend following a divorce. Danny also inspired characters in his brother’s other plays, including “Plaza Suite,” “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” and “Brighton Beach Memoirs.”

Matthau and Lemmon are ideal as Oscar and Felix, and the movie is well worth putting in your Netflix queue.

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