Jack Klugman, who played no-nonsense medical investigator Quincy ME for eight years, is suing TV network NBC for a share of the show's profits.
The actor's contract, which dates back to 1976, entitles him to 25 percent of the show's net profits, according to legal papers filed in a US court.
Klugman claims NBC has lied about its income, and owes him money.
"I don't want their money, I want my money," he said. "I worked my tail off." NBC was unavailable for comment.
According to legal papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, the 85-year-old actor lost his copy of the NBC contract when his agent died.
He claims the network has refused to provide him with a fresh copy.
The legal case aims to force NBC to divulge the terms of his contract and to pay his legal fees.
In court papers, Klugman says the network provided him with a statement that showed Quincy ME had lost $66 million (£33.2 million) in 2006.
But the actor told the Associated Press news agency that he did not believe the figures.
"I recently heard that they made $250 million (£125.6 million) and it's still on TV in Germany," he said.
Klugman became a household name as Oscar Madison in the TV version of Neil Simon's play The Odd Couple.
He signed up for Quincy ME in 1976 and played the role until the show ended in 1983.