Jack Lemmon

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Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon - 1968.jpg
Lemmon in 1968.
BornJohn Uhler Lemmon III
(1925-02-08)February 8, 1925
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
DiedJune 27, 2001(2001-06-27) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Colon cancer
Bladder cancer
Resting place
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1949–2000
ReligionRoman Catholic
Spouse(s)Cynthia Stone (1950–56)
Felicia Farr (1962–2001) (his death)
ChildrenChris Lemmon
Courtney Lemmon
Denise "Farr/Lemmon" Gordon (stepdaughter)
 
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Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon - 1968.jpg
Lemmon in 1968.
BornJohn Uhler Lemmon III
(1925-02-08)February 8, 1925
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
DiedJune 27, 2001(2001-06-27) (aged 76)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Colon cancer
Bladder cancer
Resting place
Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
OccupationActor, musician
Years active1949–2000
ReligionRoman Catholic
Spouse(s)Cynthia Stone (1950–56)
Felicia Farr (1962–2001) (his death)
ChildrenChris Lemmon
Courtney Lemmon
Denise "Farr/Lemmon" Gordon (stepdaughter)

John Uhler "Jack" Lemmon III (February 8, 1925 – June 27, 2001) was an American actor and musician. Lemmon was an eight time Academy Award nominee, with two wins. He starred in more than 60 films, including Some Like It Hot, The Apartment, Mister Roberts (for which he won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), Days of Wine and Roses, The Great Race, Irma la Douce, The Odd Couple, Save the Tiger (for which he won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Actor), The Out-of-Towners, The China Syndrome, Missing (for which he won Best Actor at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival), Glengarry Glen Ross, Grumpy Old Men, and Grumpier Old Men.

Early life[edit]

Lemmon was born on February 8, 1925 in an elevator[1] at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. He was the only child of Mildred Burgess LaRue (née Noel) and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company.[2][3] His paternal grandmother was from an Irish immigrant family.[4] Lemmon attended John Ward Elementary School in Newton and The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts. He stated that he knew he wanted to be an actor from the age of eight.[5] Lemmon attended Phillips Academy (Class of 1943) and Harvard University (Class of 1947), where he lived in Eliot House[6] and was an active member of several Drama Clubs – and president of the Hasty Pudding Club[7] – as well as a member of the Delphic Club for Gentleman, a final club at Harvard. After Harvard, Lemmon joined the Navy,[7] receiving V-12 training and serving as an ensign. On being discharged, he took up acting professionally, working on radio, television and Broadway.[7] He studied acting under coach Uta Hagen.[7] He was enamored of the piano and learned to play it on his own. He could also play the harmonica, guitar, organ, and the double bass.

Career[edit]

Lemmon's film debut was a bit part as a plasterer/painter in the 1949 film The Lady Takes a Sailor, but he went unnoticed until his debut, opposite Judy Holliday, in the 1954 comedy It Should Happen to You.[7] Lemmon worked with legendary leading ladies, among them Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Betty Grable, Janet Leigh, Shirley MacLaine, Lee Remick, Romy Schneider, Doris Day, Kim Novak, Judy Holliday, Rita Hayworth, June Allyson, Virna Lisi, Ann-Margret, Sophia Loren, and many more. He was close friends with actors Tony Curtis, Ernie Kovacs, Walter Matthau, and Kevin Spacey. He made two films with Curtis, three films with Kovacs (Operation Mad Ball, Bell, Book and Candle, and It Happened to Jane), and eleven with Matthau.[citation needed]

Early in Lemmon's career he met comedian Ernie Kovacs while co-starring with him in Operation Mad Ball.[8] Lemmon and Kovacs became close friends and appeared together in two subsequent films, Bell, Book and Candle[9] and It Happened to Jane[10] In 1977 PBS broadcast a compilation series of Kovacs's television work, and Lemmon served as the narrator of the series. Lemmon discussed his friendship with Kovacs in the documentary, Ernie Kovacs: Television's Original Genius.[11]

He was a favorite of director Billy Wilder, starring in the films Some Like It Hot (for which he was awarded Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival), The Apartment, Irma la Douce, The Fortune Cookie, Avanti!, The Front Page, and Buddy Buddy. Wilder felt Lemmon had a natural tendency toward overacting that had to be tempered; the Wilder biography Nobody's Perfect quotes the director as saying, "Lemmon, I would describe him as a ham, a fine ham, and with ham you have to trim a little fat". The biography quotes Lemmon as saying, "I am particularly susceptible to the parts I play... If my character was having a nervous breakdown, I started to have one".

He enjoyed a longtime working relationships with both Blake Edwards, starring in Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Great Race (1965) and That's Life! (1986), and Richard Quine, starring in My Sister Eileen, Operation Mad Ball.,[8] Bell, Book and Candle[9] and It Happened to Jane[10] and How to Murder Your Wife (1965). Quine also directed Lemmon's screen test when the actor was signed by Columbia.

Lemmon recorded an album in 1958 while filming Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe. Twelve jazz tracks were created for Lemmon and another twelve were added. Lemmon played the piano and recorded his own renditions of Monroe's trademark songs, I Wanna Be Loved By You and I'm Through With Love, for the album which was released in 1959 as A Twist of Lemmon/Some Like It Hot.

Lemmon was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1956 for Mister Roberts (1955) and the Best Actor Oscar for Save the Tiger (1973), becoming the first actor to achieve this rare double (the only other actors to achieve this are: Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, and Denzel Washington).[7] He was also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his role in the controversial film Missing in 1982, and for his roles in Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The China Syndrome (1979), and Tribute (1980). He won another Cannes award for his performance in Missing (which received the Palme d'Or). In 1988, the American Film Institute gave him its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Days of Wine and Roses (1962) was a favorite role. He portrayed Joe Clay, a young, fun-loving alcoholic businessman. In that film, Lemmon delivered the line, "My name is Joe Clay ... I'm an alcoholic." Three and a half decades later, he stated on the television program Inside the Actors Studio that he was a recovering alcoholic.[7]

Lemmon's production company JML produced Cool Hand Luke in 1967. Paul Newman was grateful to Lemmon for his support and offered him the role of the Sundance Kid, later played by Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but Lemmon turned it down. He did not like riding horses and he felt he'd already played too many aspects of the Sundance Kid's character before.[12]

Charlie Chaplin (r.) receiving an Honorary Academy Award from Lemmon at the 44th Academy Awards in 1972

Lemmon appeared in many films partnered with actor Walter Matthau. Among their pairings was 1968's The Odd Couple, as Felix Ungar (Lemmon) and Oscar Madison (Matthau). The first film they starred in together was The Fortune Cookie (for which Matthau won the 1966 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor), The Front Page and Buddy Buddy. In 1971, Lemmon directed Matthau in the comedy Kotch. It was the only movie that Lemmon directed and Matthau was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance.

Additionally, Lemmon and Matthau had small parts in Oliver Stone's 1991 film, JFK (the only film in which both appeared without sharing screen time). In 1993, the duo teamed again to star in Grumpy Old Men. The film was a surprise hit, earning the two actors a new generation of young fans. During the rest of the decade, they would star together in Out to Sea, Grumpier Old Men and the widely panned The Odd Couple II. In 1996, Lemmon was awarded the Honorary Golden Bear award at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival.[13] In 1997, Lemmon was a guest voice on The Simpsons episode "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson," playing the character Frank Ormand, owner of the pretzel business that Marge Simpson franchised. The recurring character Old Gil Gunderson, voiced by Dan Castellaneta, is an ongoing parody of Lemmon's character in Glengarry Glen Ross.

At the 1998 Golden Globe Awards, he was nominated for "Best Actor in a Made for TV Movie" for his role in Twelve Angry Men losing to Ving Rhames. After accepting the award, Rhames asked Lemmon to come on stage and, in a move that stunned the audience, gave his award to him. (The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes, had a second award made and sent to Rhames.).[14] He received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1988.

For what would be his final starring role, Lemmon won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role as Morrie Schwartz in the TV-movie Tuesdays with Morrie. His final film role was an uncredited one: the narrator of the 2000 Robert Redford film The Legend of Bagger Vance.

Personal life[edit]

Lemmon in 1988

Actor Kevin Spacey recalled that Lemmon is remembered for always making time for other people. Already regarded as a legend, he met teenage Spacey backstage after a theater performance and spoke to him about pursuing an acting career.[15] Spacey would later work with Lemmon in The Murder of Mary Phagan (1987), Dad (1989), the critically acclaimed film Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and on stage in a revival of Long Day's Journey into Night. Lemmon was Spacey's mentor, and taught Spacey that people who do well in a business have an obligation to "send the elevator back down" to help lift people starting out on the ground floor.[16] This metaphor is fitting given that Lemmon was born in an elevator.

In his autobiography, My Life,[17] Burt Reynolds recalls Lemmon as the quintessential gentleman who never spoke ill of anyone, even if they deserved it. This kindness backfired for Reynolds: prior to accepting the lead in W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings (1975), directed by John G. Avildsen, Reynolds asked Lemmon, whom Avildsen had directed in Save the Tiger (1973) for an opinion of Avildsen as a director. Lemmon told Reynolds that Avildsen was "okay", and Reynolds accepted the role. After the film was released and his experiences in production proved unhappy, Reynolds complained to Lemmon and described Avildsen as an "asshole", whereupon Lemmon replied, "I guess you could say that."

Lemmon was married twice. His son Chris Lemmon (born 1954), was his first child by his first wife, actress Cynthia Stone. His second wife was actress Felicia Farr, with whom he had a daughter, Courtney (born 1966). Farr had a daughter from a previous relationship (her marriage to Lee Farr) named Denise. Lemmon was a Catholic.[18] He publicly announced his alcoholism during a 1998 interview on Inside the Actors Studio.[19][20]

Death[edit]

Jack Lemmon's grave

Lemmon died of colon cancer and metastatic cancer of the bladder on June 27, 2001.[21] He had been fighting the disease, privately, for two years before his death. He was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Westwood, California, buried near his friend and co-star, Walter Matthau, who died almost exactly one year before Lemmon. His gravestone simply reads "JACK LEMMON in," a reference to how he was billed on film credits.[22]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1949The Lady Takes a SailorPlastererUncredited
1954It Should Happen to YouPete Sheppard
1954Phffft!Robert Tracey
1955Three for the ShowMartin "Marty" Stewart
1955Mister RobertsEnsign Frank Thurlowe PulverAcademy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1955My Sister EileenRobert "Bob" Baker
1955Hollywood Bronc BustersHimself
1956You Can't Run Away from ItPeter Warne
1957Fire Down BelowTony
1957Operation Mad BallPrivate HoganNominated — Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
1958CowboyFrank Harris
1958Bell, Book and CandleNicky Holroyd
1959Some Like It HotJerry "Gerald" / "Daphne"BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
1959It Happened to JaneGeorge Denham
1960The ApartmentC. C. BaxterBAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
1960Stowaway in the SkyNarratorVoice
1960PepeDaphneCameo
1960The Wackiest Ship in the ArmyLt. Rip Crandall
1962The Notorious LandladyWilliam "Bill" Gridley
1962Days of Wine and RosesJoe ClayFotogramas de Plata Award for Best Foreign Performer
San Sebastián International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Sant Jordi Award for Best Performance in a Foreign Film
Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1963Irma la DouceNestor Patou / Lord XLaurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1963Under the Yum Yum TreeHoganNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1964Good Neighbor SamSam BisselNominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1965How to Murder Your WifeStanley FordLaurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
1965The Great RaceProfessor Fate / Prince HapnickNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
1966The Fortune CookieHarry Hinkle
1967LuvHarry Berlin
1968There Comes a Day
1968The Odd CoupleFelix UngarNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
1969The April FoolsHoward BrubakerLaurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance
1970The Out-of-TownersGeorge KellermanNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1971KotchSleeping bus passengerDirector
1972The War Between Men and WomenPeter Edward Wilson
1972Avanti!Wendell Armbruster, Jr.Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1973Save the TigerHarry StonerAcademy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1974The Police Can't MoveNarratorVoice
1974The Front PageHildebrand "Hildy" JohnsonDavid di Donatello for Best Actor (shared with Walter Matthau)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1975WednesdayJerry Murphy
1975The Gentleman TrampNarratorVoice
1975The Prisoner of Second AvenueMel Edison
1976Alex & the GypsyAlexander Main
1977Airport '77Captain Don Gallagher
1979The China SyndromeJack GodellCannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor
David di Donatello for Best Actor (tied with Dustin Hoffman)
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
1980TributeScottie TempletonSilver Bear for Best Actor[23]
Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
1981Buddy BuddyVictor Clooney
1982MissingEd HormanCannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated — David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1984Mass AppealFather Tim Farley
1985MacaroniRobert Traven
1986That's Life!Harvey FairchildNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1989DadJake TremontNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1991JFKJack Martin
1992Beyond JFK: The Question of ConspiracyHimself
1992The PlayerHimself
1992Glengarry Glen RossShelley LeveneNational Board of Review Award for Best Actor
Valladolid International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Volpi Cup Award for Best Actor
1993Luck, Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman In Carver CountyHimself
1993Short CutsPaul FinniganGolden Globe Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Volpi Cup for Best Ensemble Cast
1993Grumpy Old MenJohn Gustafson
1995The Grass HarpDr. Morris Ritz
1995Grumpier Old MenJohn GustafsonNominated — American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture
1996Getting Away with MurderMax Mueller / Karl Luger
1996My Fellow AmericansPresident Russell P. Kramer
1996HamletMarcellus
1997Out to SeaHerb Sullivan
1997Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen'sHimself
1998Puppies for SalePet shop owner
1998The Odd Couple IIFelix Ungar
2000The Legend of Bagger VanceNarrator / Hardy GreavesUncredited

Television[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1949–1950That Wonderful GuyHarold
1950Toni Twin TimeHostEpisode dated May 31, 1950
1951Ad-Libbers, TheThe Ad-LibbersCelebrity panelist5 episodes
1951–1952Frances Langford-Don Ameche Show, TheThe Frances Langford-Don Ameche ShowNewlywed"The Couple Next Door" sketches
1952Heaven for BetsyPete Bell
1954Road of Life, TheThe Road of LifeSurgeon
1956Day Lincoln Was Shot, TheThe Day Lincoln Was ShotJohn Wilkes Booth
1957What's My Line?Mystery GuestSeason 9, Episode 10
1957–1958Alcoa TheatreHenry Coyle
Steve Tyler
Wally Mall
Lieutenant Tony Crawford
Edward King
Episode: "Disappearance"
Episode: "Most Likely to Succeed"
Episode: "Loudmouth"
Episode: "The Days of November"
Episode: "Souvenir"
1972 '​S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S GershwinHostPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special
1976Entertainer, TheThe EntertainerArchie RiceNominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1987Long Day's Journey into NightJames Tyrone, Sr.Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
1988Murder of Mary Phagan, TheThe Murder of Mary PhaganGov. John SlatonNominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
1990The Earth Day SpecialCoach Stewart
1992For Richer, for PoorerAram KatourianNominated — CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
1993Life in the Theater, AA Life in the TheaterRobertNominated — CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
1994Wild WestHost
1996Weekend in the Country, AA Weekend in the CountryBud Bailey
1997Simpsons, TheThe SimpsonsFrank OrmandVoice
Episode: "The Twisted World of Marge Simpson"
199712 Angry MenJuror No. 8Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
1998Long Way Home, TheThe Long Way HomeThomas Gerrin
1999Inherit the WindHenry DrummondGolden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1999Tuesdays with MorrieMorrie SchwartzPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Jack Lemmon Interview". Ability Magazine. May 2006. Retrieved August 3, 2012. 
  2. ^ Family tree
  3. ^ "Jack Lemmon Biography (1925–2001)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=65812405
  5. ^ Jack Lemmon Accepts the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1988 on YouTube
  6. ^ Pepp, Jessica A. (February 24, 1995). "Jack Lemmon to Receive Arts Medal". The Harvard Crimson (Harvard University). Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Stated on Inside the Actors Studio, 1998
  8. ^ a b IMDB entry for Operation Mad Ball
  9. ^ a b IMDB entry Bell, Book, and Candle
  10. ^ a b IMDB entry for It Happened to Jane
  11. ^ IMDB entry for Ernie Kovacs: Television's Original Genius
  12. ^ A slice of Lemmon for extra character, Bob Flynn, Panorama, p. 7, Canberra Times, August 15, 1998
  13. ^ "Berlinale: 1996 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  14. ^ Ving Rhames gives his Golden Globe to Jack Lemmon (1998)
  15. ^ "Charlie Rose – Kevin Spacey / Jamaica Kincaid". YouTube. Retrieved December 12, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Jameson First Shot". YouTube. September 13, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  17. ^ Reynolds, Burt. (1994) My Life. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6130-4
  18. ^ Don Widener Lemmon: A Biography (1975), page 7
  19. ^ Meredith Blake (May 29, 2013). "James Lipton's 'Inside the Actors Studio' hits 250 on changing Bravo". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Inside the Actors Studio: Season 4, Episode 10". IMDb. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  21. ^ Aljean Harmetz (June 29, 2001). "Jack Lemmon, Dark and Comic Actor, Dies at 76". New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2010. Jack Lemmon, the brash young American Everyman who evolved into the screen's grumpiest old Everyman during a movie career that lasted a half century, died on Wednesday at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 76 and lived in Beverly Hills. The cause was complications from cancer, said a spokesman, Warren Cowan. 
  22. ^ http://www.seeing-stars.com/imagepages/jacklemmongravephoto.shtml
  23. ^ "Berlinale 1981: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved August 31, 2010. 

Sources[edit]

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