Jason LaVeris/Contributor/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) — Cory Monteith’s special tribute at the Emmy Awards Sunday night was the subject of much debate in the days leading up to the CBS telecast. The son of the late Jack Klugman made his opinion well-known by suggesting to multiple media outlets that his father was more deserving of a tribute than the Glee actor, who died of a heroin and alcohol overdose in July.
Adam Klugman’s contention was that his father — who starred in The Odd Couple and Quincy, M.E., and who was recognized in the Emmys’ traditional “In Memoriam” segment — left behind a much greater legacy in the TV world. Klugman was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying the Emmy producers were “celebrating this self-inflicted tragedy instead of celebrating the life of my father, who won three Emmys….Cory Monteith never won an Emmy.”
Klugman also expressed his belief that the producers made the decision to salute Monteith “because they think they’re gonna get a younger generation of viewers to watch.”
In fact, the executive producer of the telecast, Ken Ehrlich, essentially acknowledged the latter point in a statement: “To a younger generation, Cory Monteith’s portrayal of Finn Hudson was highly admired, and the producers felt that he should be included along with the four other individuals we have singled out.”
Klugman’s tone changed on Sunday, when he said in a statement to E! News, “Tonight is for celebrating and I know my father would not want me or his name to be associated with any more negativity.”
He added, “After a certain point it becomes hurtful to [the] Monteith family and that has never been my intent. I feel that I’ve said enough.”
Not surprisingly, Monteith’s mother, Ann McGregor, disagreed with Klugman’s original comments, telling TMZ that had her son “lived 30 more years he would have accomplished much more.”
Monteith was one of five deceased individuals who received special tributes at the Emmy Awards, along with James Gandolfini, Jonathan Winters, All in the Family actress Jean Stapleton, and TV writer/producer Gary David Goldberg.
Klugman, who died last December at the age of 90, wasn’t the only notable omission from the special tributes. Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie star Larry Hagman was also left out.
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Source: ABC News Radio