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Jack Lemmon Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (57) | Personal Quotes (11) | Salary (6)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 February 1925Newton, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 27 June 2001Los Angeles, California, USA  (bladder cancer)
Birth NameJohn Uhler Lemmon III
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Jack Lemmon was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to Mildred Burgess LaRue (Noel) and John Uhler Lemmon, Jr., the president of a doughnut company. His ancestry included Irish (from his paternal grandmother) and English. Jack attended Ward Elementary near his Newton, MA home. At age 9 he was sent to Rivers Country Day School, then located in nearby Brookline. After RCDS, he went to high school at Phillips Andover Academy. Jack was a member of the Harvard class of 1947, where he was in Navy ROTC and the Dramatic Club. After service as a Navy ensign, he worked in a beer hall (playing piano), on radio, off Broadway, TV and Broadway. His movie debut was with Judy Holliday in It Should Happen to You (1954). He won Best Supporting Actor as Ensign Pulver in Mister Roberts (1955). He received nominations in comedy (Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960)) and drama (Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The China Syndrome (1979), Tribute (1980) and Missing (1982)). He won the Best Actor Oscar for Save the Tiger (1973) and the Cannes Best Actor award for "Syndrome" and "Missing". He made his debut as a director with Kotch (1971) and in 1985 on Broadway in "Long Day's Journey into Night". In 1988 he received the Life Achievement Award of the American Film Institute.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (2)

Felicia Farr (17 August 1962 - 27 June 2001) (his death) (1 child)
Cynthia Stone (7 May 1950 - 1956) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (5)

Frequently worked with Billy Wilder.
Often cast in films with Walter Matthau.
Known for playing likeable but down on their luck characters
Often played average working class men trying to get ahead in life
Speedy delivery

Trivia (57)

An accomplished, self-taught pianist, he wrote the theme for the movie Tribute (1980) and played jazz in a Bobby Short TV special.
Ranked #47 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
His son, Chris Lemmon, appeared with him in Airport '77 (1977).
Became a father for the 1st time at age 29 when his 1st [now ex] wife Cynthia Stone gave birth to their son Christopher Boyd Lemmon [aka Chris Lemmon] on June 22, 1954.
Became a father for the 2nd time at age 40 when his 2nd wife Felicia Farr gave birth to their daughter Courtney Noelle Lemmon [aka Courtney Lemmon] on January 7, 1966.
Born at 2:00pm-EST.
Lemmon admitted to having had a serious drinking problem at one time, which is one reason he looked back on his Oscar-winning role as Harry Stoner in Save the Tiger (1973) as perhaps the most gratifying, emotionally fulfilling performance of his career.
He was pleasantly shocked by Golden Globe winner Ving Rhames in 1998 when Rhames called him up to the stage and actually gave him the award for Best Actor in a TV Movie, which he had just won, to express his admiration to the veteran actor.
Described his flamboyant, authoritarian mother as "Tallulah Bankhead on a road show." Laughed about how she used to hang out with her girlfriends at the Ritz Bar in Boston and how she tried to have her cremation ashes placed on the bar (the management refused).
Since his middle initial was U., he had to deal with ribbing from kids who taunted him with, "Jack, u lemon".
In Harvard, he was in Navy ROTC and graduated with a degree in "War Service Sciences."
He studied with Uta Hagen, and considers her his prime early mentor.
Lemmon's dad, a bakery executive, didn't approve of his son taking up acting, but told him he should continue with it only as long as he felt passion for it, adding: "The day I don't find romance in a loaf of bread..." His dying words to Jack were: "Spread a little sunshine."
Was born February 8, 1925, in an elevator at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts.
1947 graduate of Harvard University.
Lemmon passed away four days shy of one year after his frequent co-star, Walter Matthau.
Was president of the Harvard Hasty Pudding Club.
Graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, in 1943.
During WW II, he served in the Naval Reserve and was the communications officer on the USS Lake Champlain.
Before any take he would say, "It's magic time."
Is a recipient of the Connor Award, an award given to someone who displays an excellence in the communicative arts, handed out by the brothers of the fraternity Phi Alpha Tau from Emerson College in Boston.
Was good friends with Walter Matthau and Biff Elliot.
He was voted the 33rd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
He once had a Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavor named after him: "Jack Lemmon". It was still being produced in the early 1980s but has since been discontinued and is not listed on the Baskin-Robbins website.
Appeared on an episode of The Simpsons (1989), in which he convinced Marge to get into the pretzel business. Shelley Levene, his character from Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), was the inspiration for another Simpsons character, the usually jobless Gil, who Marge first met while working at a real estate firm.
He was voted the 45th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine.
Did all of his own stunts for My Fellow Americans (1996).
First actor to win two "Best Actor" Award at the Cannes Film Festival. (Dean Stockwell won twice at the festival before, but he had to share both of his awards with his co-stars)
He and Walter Matthau acted together in 10 movies: Buddy Buddy (1981), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Front Page (1974), The Grass Harp (1995), Grumpier Old Men (1995), Grumpy Old Men (1993), JFK (1991), The Odd Couple II (1998), The Odd Couple (1968) and Out to Sea (1997). Lemmon also directed Matthau in Kotch (1971).
Billy Wilder directed him in 7 movies: The Apartment (1960), Avanti! (1972), Buddy Buddy (1981), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Front Page (1974), Irma la Douce (1963) and Some Like It Hot (1959).
He and The China Syndrome (1979) co-stars Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda have all won Oscars for Leading Roles. Lemmon won for Save the Tiger (1973), Fonda won for Klute (1971), and Douglas won for Wall Street (1987).
His headstone reads "Jack Lemmon in".
Appears in Mister Roberts (1955) with Henry Fonda, in which he takes over Fonda's position of Cargo Officer when Fonda is transferred off the USS Reluctant. In 12 Angry Men (1997), Lemmon plays the same juror that Fonda played in the original.
His performance as Jerry/Daphne in Some Like It Hot (1959) is ranked #65 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
A passionate but unskilled golfer who tried for 33 years to make the cut at Pebble Beach but didn't.
Starred opposite Henry Fonda in Mister Roberts (1955) in 1955 and opposite Henry's daughter, Jane Fonda, in The China Syndrome (1979) in 1979.
His performance as Jerry/Daphne in Some Like It Hot (1959) is ranked #29 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Father-in-law of Gina Raymond and Peter McCrea.
Owner of Jalem Productions, which co-produced many of his films as well as Cool Hand Luke (1967) starring Paul Newman.
The only actor to be offered the role of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) before Richard Burton was cast. He accepted the role but quickly changed his mind the next day without offering any explanation.
Holds the record for most Golden Globe nominations for acting, including both actors and actresses (22 total).
Best remembered by the public for his roles playing the "average Joe" and for his many roles opposite good friend Walter Matthau.
During his early days as a contract player with Columbia Pictures, studio head Harry Cohn wanted Lemmon to change his screen name to "Jack Lennon." Cohn feared that critics would make use of Lemmon's last name (i.e., "Jack Lemmon's performance in the film is a lemon."). Lemmon convinced Conn if he changed his name to "Lennon," everyone would think that he was related to V.I. Lenin, the founder of Soviet Communism (this was the 1950s, the time of the McCarthy "Red Scare", and years before the appearance of John Lennon and The Beatles). Referring to Vladimir Lenin, Cohn told Lemmon, "No, that's wrong. They pronounce his name 'Len-IN." "No," Lemmon replied, firmly. "It's pronounced 'LEN-in." After making a phone call to a Russian associate, who confirmed that Lenin's name was pronounced "LEN-in",' Cohn agreed to let Lemmon keep his own name.
Kevin Spacey dedicated his Oscar for American Beauty (1999) to Lemmon.
Openly admitted on Inside the Actors Studio (1994) that he was an alcoholic.
His father, John Uhler Lemmon II has an uncredited role in The Notorious Landlady (1962).
Producer Howard Koch originally wanted Art Carney to replicate his role of Felix in The Odd Couple (1968), but Paramount production chief Robert Evans wanted Jack Lemmon, who was a superstar. Carney would later win the Academy Award as Best Actor for Harry and Tonto (1974) (1974) one year after Lemmon picked up his Best Actor Oscar for Save the Tiger (1973).
Jack Lemmon was the top male Box Office Star of 1964, as ranked by Quigley Publications' survey of movie exhibitors. He ranked #2 that year, topped only by Doris Day. In the 11 years from 1960 to 1970, Lemmon was ranked a Top 10 Box Office Star eight times (1960, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969 and 1970).
Was considered for the role of Carl Fox in Wall Street (1987).
"Gil", on The Simpsons (1989), is based on Lemmon's character, "Shelley Levine", from Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).
Directed one Oscar-nominated performance: Walter Matthau in Kotch (1971).
Release of the book, "A Twist of Lemmon: A Tribute to My Father" by Chris Lemmon.
He had English, Irish, and more distant French, Dutch, and Welsh, ancestry.
Has appeared in four films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Mister Roberts (1955), The Apartment (1960), Missing (1982), JFK (1991). The Apartment (1960) won in the category.
Is one of just 5 actors to win both a leading and supporting actor Oscar. The other 4 are Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson.
Kevin Spacey has frequently said that working with hero Jack Lemmon on stage in a production of "A Long Day's Journey into Night" was a transformative experience for him. Spacey described himself was basically a bitter, stand-offish type at that time but was amazed that Lemmon was friendly and generous to everyone he interacted with both backstage and with the audience at the stage door and Spacey said it convinced him that being a great actor and a good person weren't mutually exclusive. The two would later share the screen in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).
Became the first person to win an acting prize in all top film festivals: Cannes Best Actor for The China Syndrome (1979) and Missing (1982), Berlin Silver Bear Best Actor for Tribute (1980), and Venice Volpi Cup Best Actor in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992).

Personal Quotes (11)

[accepting his award at the 2000 Golden Globes] In the spirit of Ving Rhames, I'm going to give this award to Jack Lemmon.
If you think it's difficult to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.
The worst part about being me is when people want me to make them laugh.
I won't quit until I get run over by a truck, a producer or a critic.
It's hard enough to write a good drama, it's much harder to write a good comedy, and it's hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is.
Nobody deserves this much money - certainly not an actor.
[on Marilyn Monroe] Difficult? Yes. But she was a wonderful comedienne and she had a charisma like no one before or since.
[on Judy Holliday] She was intelligent and not at all like the dumb blonds she so often depicted. She didn't give a damn where the camera was placed, how she was made to look, or about being a star. She just played the scene -- acted with, not at. She was also one of the nicest people I ever met.
[on Billy Wilder] I've had directors who were marvelous at breaking scenes down and handling people. But when you would string all the pearls together, they wouldn't make a beautiful necklace. But Billy is the kind of picture-maker who can make a beautiful string of pearls. He makes the kind of movies that are classics and last forever.
[on Walter Matthau] Walter is a helluva actor. The best I've ever worked with.
[on Shirley MacLaine] She hated rehearsals and had a bad habit of ad-libbing, which didn't set well with Billy Wilder. But we got used to each other, because mainly she's a helluva girl.

Salary (6)

Some Like It Hot (1959) $100,000
The Apartment (1960) $175,000
Irma la Douce (1963) $350,000 + 7.5% of the gross.
The Great Race (1965) $125,000
The Odd Couple (1968) $1,000,000 against 10% of the gross
Save the Tiger (1973) Scale and % of profits.

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