Jack Lemon, the actor who even played with his … ears

His sparkling gaze, his deep expressiveness, his nervous movements, the restrained but so characteristic grimaces of his face, even his ears, played in the best possible way even with the camera that fascinated him. Jack Lemon, one of the most complete actors, who could combine star with karate, crazy comedy with drama, excelled in cinema, managing to break the Hollywood stereotypes of that time, creating a personal and different style and ethos. in acting. In short: a huge comedian who could play even better in drama!

Jack Lemon, an artist who honored his art and was honored with two Oscars out of a total of eight nominations, dared to experiment with carmaniola roles and come out unscathed, triumphant. In the 50 years of his career, he played … and what he did not play. What comes to mind. “Some Prefer Hot”, “Studio”, “Troteza”, “Mr. Roberts”, “Wine and Flower Days”, “China Syndrome”, “Missing” or “Strange Couple” made with his close friend Walter Matthew and their incredible success, with the films they shot together.

20 years after his death (June 27, 2001) we will get to know better the strange way he came to life, the difficulties of his childhood and we will remember his most important moments in cinema.

The lemon Lemon

Jack Lemon was born in a cinematic way. It was February 8, 1925, when Mildred’s mother gave birth to him in an elevator in Boston with jaundice, a lemon color that perfectly matched his surname. The son of John, a baker, young Jack had a difficult childhood, as he underwent many surgeries. But that did not stop him from being a very good athlete, which sent him to Harvard. There, the young Jack, probably not dazzled by the reputation of the educational institution, dropped out of school and was only involved in acting, the “germ” that had entered him since childhood.

From the War to Room Service

Despite his craze for acting, Lemon will go to serve in World War II, serving in the Navy and on the deck of an aircraft carrier. After the war, he persuaded his father to lend him $ 300 to go to Broadway to fight for his dream. So, he will be in New York, where until he finds the opportunity to step on the theatrical board, he played professional piano in clubs and making some sketches on the radio. His first appearance in the theater will come in 1953, with the comedy “Room Service”, a show that came down quickly. His disappointment, however, will not last long, as the famous director George Cukor will give him the leading role in the film “It Should Happen to You”, a very nice romantic comedy, ideal for the debut of a young actor.

Some Prefer It Hot

The beginning had been made. The water had entered the ditch for Lemon, but he himself could not imagine the sequel. So, after just 5 years, Billy Wilder will call him to star in one of the classic subversive comedies of all time, next to the sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe and the also rising Tony Curtis. This is of course the famous “Some Prefer It Hot”, for which Lemon will play most of the film playing a girl, a challenging role, in which he stole the glory from his co-stars. First nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor, but most importantly the recognition in the public consciousness.

He will meet Billy Wilder six more times in the movies. Luck for Lemon is when in 1960 they will do the “Studio” together, with the wonderful Shirley McLain next to him. Classic now romantic comedy, which also won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Although a well-established comedian, 1962 will prove that he can be flawless in a dramatic role, with his moving performance in Blake Edwards’ dramatic film “Wine and Flower Days” giving him another Oscar nomination.

A Strange Couple

1966 will be a year that will mark Lemon, inaugurating his long-term collaboration with Walter Matthew, with Wilder’s comedy, “A Wonderful Cheater.” Two years later, they will make the legend of the cinematic couple with the hilarious comedy “A Strange Couple”, building on the diametrically opposed characters they play, but also on their different appearances. One petite, funny, nervous, the other big, grumpy, lazy. An incredible success that will bring them eight more times as a cinematic couple, with the best moment being the classic scrumball comedy “First Page”, again directed by Wilder.

In 1973 came the first Oscar for Best Actor for the interesting detective drama “Save the Tiger” by John Avildsen, while many years ago, in 1955 he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his excellent war comedy “Mr. Roberts” John Ford, with the beasts Henry Fonda, James Cagney and William Powell.

The dramatic Jack

Lemon has made dozens of hits in all these years. Even if some did not have the result we would have expected, Lemon was always there to support them and especially to enjoy his acting skills. However, we have to dwell on three dramatic films, which returned to its maturity. These are the excellent thriller “The Syndrome of China” (1980), by James Bridges, the political thriller by Costas Gavras “The Missing” (1982) in the role of a heartbreaking father and the dramatic “Plots with a View” of 1992, where the character of the loser of life, winning by state the loaded cast with rising and acclaimed stars of the time.

Jack Lemon, who did not stop pressing until the end of his life, had a calm personal life, married twice, had a son, was always on the side of the weak, was dear to anyone who knew him, since he never he played it in a vendetta.

He died of cancer on June 27, 2001 in Los Angeles. Bad day. Not only one special, a great actor and a kind person was lost. The mold of an actor has also been lost, which we always look for and with sadness we discover that it will hardly exist again …

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

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