SUPPORTING GREAT TELEVISION

Rich Man, Poor Man: Sinners Reconciled

In Flashbacks on March 15, 2011 at 7:30 am

Jordache brothers Tom (Nick Nolte) and Rudy (Peter Strauss) reconciled in the final episode of “Rich Man, Poor Man.” (Screen cap)

On March 15, 1976, ABC’s Rich Man, Poor Man concluded its nine-week run with the death of ne’er-do-well boxer Tom Jordache, the role that made Nick Nolte a star.

The 12-hour Rich Man, Poor Man miniseries, based on Irwin Shaw’s 1970 best-selling novel, spanned three decades in the divergent lives of troubled Tom and his ambitious brother Rudy (Peter Strauss), who becomes a United States senator.

In the finale, with happiness finally in Tom’s grasp, he is brutally stabbed by a pair of thugs.

Before dying, Tom has a moving deathbed reconciliation with Rudy – a scene that ranked 87th on TV Guide’s 1996 list of television’s most memorable moments.

Nolte and Strauss were each nominated for Emmys; they lost to Hal Holbrook (Sandburg’s Lincoln).

See for yourself: The Rich Man, Poor Man: The Complete Collection DVD includes the original miniseries and its 22-hour sequel, which aired the following season.

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