Happy birthday, Jack Lemmon!
Today is the 90th birthday of one of the most lovable actors that ever lived: Mr. Jack Lemmon. He never fails to bring a smile to my face, thanks to his warmth, his humility, his kindness, and of course, his absolutely crazy talent for comedy. I loved showing my friends in high school Some Like it Hot because the second they finished it, we would be quoting it all day and for months afterwards. While the whole film is fantastic, it was always Jack that sealed the deal. It would be his lines that we were repeating, his little movements, his inflections. On paper, I would think that Tony Curtis gets the best part (he gets to be three people, show off his killer Cary Grant impression, and he’s Marilyn Monroe’s love interest), but damned if Jack doesn’t practically steal the picture from him.
Some Like it Hot isn’t the only Lemmon movie I love. That couldn’t even be possible. I adore his other Billy Wilder masterpiece, The Apartment. It’s been awhile, but I remember enjoying another Wilder movie, Irma la Douce, even though it was a bit long. Days of Wine and Roses absolutely destroyed me. My Sister Eileen is the only full-on musical I’ve seen with Jack in it, but the one number they give him is hilarious and one of my favorite scenes of the movie. The Odd Couple and The Fortune Cookie are just two of a total ten films that show the outstanding team of Lemmon and Walter Matthau (I’ve yet to see the other eight). Notorious Landlady is a great mystery-comedy that’s become unfairly underrated. It stars Lemmon, Kim Novak, and Fred Astaire, along with a script by Blake Edwards! What’s not to like? The same goes for Bell, Book, and Candle. Jack is Novak’s brother while Jimmy Stewart is her love interest. Everything about it suspends belief and it’s crazy and gorgeously shot and I love it, no matter what anyone says. Did I mention that Jack and Kim are a warlock and a witch?
I won’t go on, even though I could. The main thing to remember is what a beautiful actor Mr. Lemmon was. He was side-splittingly funny, but there was always a twinge of melancholy and aching that was so poignant and breathtaking. What are you waiting for? Go watch a Jack Lemmon film and celebrate!
Happy birthday, Jack.