The Odd Couple  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Odd Couple is a 1965 Broadway play by Neil Simon, followed by a successful film and television series, as well as other derivative works and spin offs, many featuring one or more of the same actors. The plot concerns two mismatched roommates, one neat and uptight, the other more easygoing and slovenly. In the original play these were male; Simon also made a version for a pair of female roommates, called The Female Odd Couple.

Sources vary as to the origins of the play. Most sources claim that Simon was inspired to write the play when he saw his brother Danny Simon and theatrical agent Roy Gerber living together after recent divorces. However, in the Mel Brooks biography It's Good to Be the King, author James Robert Parish claims that the play came about after Simon observed Brooks, in a separation from his first wife, living with writer Speed Vogel for three months. Vogel later wrote that Brooks had insomnia, "a brushstroke of paranoia," and "a blood-sugar problem that kept us a scintilla away from insanity."

Danny Simon, also a writer, took the first crack at the play, but later handed over the idea to Neil. The show, directed by Mike Nichols, ran for 966 performances and won several Tony Awards, including Best Play.

Felix Ungar, a neurotic, neat freak newswriter (photographer in the television series), is thrown out by his wife, and moves in with his friend Oscar Madison, a messy sportswriter. In its original Broadway run, Ungar was played by Art Carney and Madison by Walter Matthau. Matthau was later replaced with Jack Klugman.

The play and the film both spell Felix's name Ungar, while the television series spells it Unger.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Odd Couple" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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