Jack Lemmon, circa 1955.
 
Jack Lemmon on Wikipedia
Jack Lemmon on the Internet Movie Database
 
 
 
 
Jack Lemmon with Shirley MacLaine
Forecourt Ceremony held on Saturday, June 29, 1963
 
Born: John Uhler Lemmon III, February 8, 1925, in Newton, Massachusetts
Age at the time of the ceremony: 38
Died: June 27, 2001, in Los Angeles, California, age 76.
 
Jack Lemmon was one of the most charming and affable figures in cinema. A gifted comic with a rare natural quality onscreen, producers sought him out during his long career — sometimes with mixed results — but his classics are a joy to behold.

Born in an elevator at a hospital in Newton, Massachusetts, Jack was an only child. He knew acting was what he wanted to do at the age of eight. While attending Harvard College, Lemmon was active in dramatics circles, becoming president of the Hasty Pudding Club.

During World War II, Lemmon served as an ensign on an aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy, but did not see action. Returning to Harvard, he graduated with a degree in War Service Sciences. Moving to New York, Lemmon studied with Uta Hagen. Lemmon got some work in television in New York, appearing most frequently on Kraft Theatre in 1949, 1951 (twice), and 1953 (twice also).

He made his Broadway debut in a revival of Room Service in April, 1953, but it flopped. Signed to an acting contract to Columbia Pictures, Lemmon made his film debut in the charming It Should Happen to You (released in March, 1954) with Judy Holliday. They were both re-teamed in Phffft (released in November, 1954). Famously, Lemmon was cast as Ensign Pulver in the film of Mister Roberts (released in July, 1955) with Henry Fonda. Lemmon bagged a supporting actor Oscar for this great film.

Lemmon starred with Janet Leigh in a musical version of My Sister Eileen (released in September, 1955), and appeared in the bodice-ripper Fire Down Below (released in May, 1957), but Robert Mitchum got all the action from Rita Hayworth. A better fit was Operation Mad Ball (released in August, 1957) with Ernie Kovacs. Lemmon also appeared in Bell Book and Candle (released in November, 1958) with James Stewart.

It was director Billy Wilder who finally came up with a role Lemmon could attack with gusto: Jerry / Daphne in the outrageously funny Some Like It Hot (which played the Chinese in April, 1959). Wilder promised to work with Lemmon again.

And how. Teamed with Shirely MacLaine, the result was one of Lemmon's (and Wilder's) best films: The Apartment (which would play the Chinese in June, 1960). Wilder promised to work with Lemmon and MacLaine again.

Before that, however, Lemmon made The Wackiest Ship in the Army (released in December, 1960), and The Notorious Landlady (released in April, 1962), and oh — starred in the film of The Days of Wine and Roses (released in December, 1962) for director Blake Edwards. Then, Lemmon could re-team with Shirley MacLain in Billy Wilder's film, Irma La Douce (which played the Chinese in July, 1963).

Thereafter followed a huge number of comic films for Lemmon to star in: Under the Yum Yum Tree (which played the Chinese in October, 1963), Good Neighbor Sam (released in July, 1964), How to Murder Your Wife (played the Chinese in April, 1965), The Great Race (released in July, 1965), The Fortune Cookie (play the Chinese in November, 1966), The Odd Couple (released in May, 1968), The Out of Towners (released in May, 1970), and Avanti! (released in December, 1972).

Lemmon abruptly switched gears, starring as a clothing company executive in the low-budget drama, Save the Tiger (released in February, 1973) and for which Lemmon would get another Oscar — for best actor this time. Returning to Billy Wilder / Neil Simon Land, Lemmon starred in The Front Page (released in December, 1974), and The Prisoner of Second Avenue (released in March, 1975).

Really switiching gears, Lemmon appeared in Airport '77 (released in March, 1977), then returned to Broadway in a play written especially for him, called Tribute, which ran for 212 perfs in the 1978 season. He toured extensively with the show, then starred in a film version, released in December, 1980.

After making a strong impression in The China Syndrome (released in March, 1979), Lemmon starred in Billy Wilder's last film, Buddy, Buddy (released in December, 1981), which was a dud, but he bounced back as a distraught father looking for his kidnapped daughter in Missing (released in March, 1982).

Lemmon was now inclined to work in both dramas, like Mass Appeal (released in December, 1984), and comedies, like That's Life! (released in October, 1986). Lemmon undertook the role of James Tyrone opposite protogée Kevin Spacey in a Broadway revival of Long Day's Journey Into Night for only 60 perfs in 1986. The production was transferred to television, airing over Showtime in April, 1987).

Lemmon had a starring role in Glengary Glen Ross (released in October, 1992), then enjoyed a large comedy hit with Grumpy Old Men (released in December, 1993) with reoccuriing co-star Walter Matthau. A sequel was equally successful, Grumpier Old Men (released in December, 1995).

Late Lemmon films include Out to Sea (released in July, 1997), a television version of 12 Angry Men aired over Showtime in August, 1997, The Odd Couple II (released in April, 1998), a television version of Inherit the Wind aired over Showtime in May, 1999, opposite George C. Scott, and finally, the television movie of Tuesdays with Morrie, airing over ABC in December, 1999.

Battling cancer of the bladder for the last two years of his life, Lemmon died of the disease in June, 2001 at the age of 76.
 
 
Caption TK
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. Jack Lemmon / Shirley MacLaine Forecourt ceremony, Saturday, June 29, 1963. Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon begin signing their names in separate blocks to celebrate their newest film, Irma La Douce, which would play the Chinese the following week (for 16 weeks!).
 
 
 
©  Copryright Graumanschinese.org