A Tribute to Jack Lemmon
Mitch Albom — who wrote the story which became the TV-movie Tuesdays With Morrie, Lemmon’s last major acting role — probably said it best: “I get a warm feeling remembering him hugging me, calling me ‘kid.’ It was a term of endearment, and endearment was what he did best.”
You had to love Jack. Even when he was playing annoying characters with annoying mannerisms — Felix Ungar in The Odd Couple or George Kellerman in The Out-of-Towners (a film that never fails to make me nervous, despite the absence of monsters or serial killers or exploding planets) — you still felt an odd affection for him. He was real, even when he was chewing the scenery and doing those patented doubletakes. You couldn’t help but identify with him, even when he was playing an alcoholic or a fussbudget or a gutless naval ensign. Like Jimmy Stewart, he was just genuine and believable.
Born as John Uhler Lemmon III on February 8, 1925, Jack was raised in Boston and graduated from Harvard. He soon moved to New York and began playing piano in theatres where silent movies were shown. He actually got his start on TV, and then moved on to Broadway, appearing in a revival of Room Service. Just short of his 30th birthday, he made his film debut in It Should Happen To You (1954), co-starring with Judy Holliday.
While never a dominant boxoffice star, he nevertheless became a legend, and for over 45 years Jack Lemmon consistently turned in some of the most memorable performances in film history, both comedy and drama: Mister Roberts (1955 – Best Supporting Actor Oscar), Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Days of Wine and Roses(1962), Irma la Douce (1963), The Odd Couple (1968), Save the Tiger (1973 – Best Actor Oscar), The China Syndrome(1979), Glengarry Glenn Ross (1992), and Tuesdays With Morrie (1999). He made over sixty films and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two. He was the first man to win Oscars as both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Many of his best films involved director Billy Wilder and fellow actor and good friend Walter Matthau, who died almost a year earlier.
I hope you enjoy the links to various sites, articles, reviews, posters, etc. as we remember one of Hollywood’s most beloved figures.
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Jack Lemmon Tributes and Other Pages
Part III: Movie Reviews & Where to Find His Movies
Part IV: Books, Photos, Art, and Posters