Jack Lemmon - Rotten Tomatoes

Jack Lemmon

Highest Rated:   100% The Odd Couple (1968)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Newton, Massachusetts, USA
A private school-educated everyman who could play outrageous comedy and wrenching tragedy, Jack Lemmon burst onto the movie scene as a 1950s Columbia contract player and remained a beloved star until his death in 2001. Whether through humor or pathos, he excelled at illuminating the struggles of average men against a callous world; as director Billy Wilder once noted, "There was a little bit of genius in everything he did." Born in 1925, the son of a Boston doughnut company executive, Lemmon was educated at Phillips Andover Academy and taught himself to play piano as a teen. A budding thespian by the time he entered Harvard, he was elected president of the famed Hasty Pudding Club. After his college career was briefly interrupted by a stint in the Navy at the end of World War II, Lemmon graduated from Harvard and headed to New York to pursue acting. By the early '50s, Lemmon had appeared in hundreds of live TV roles, including in the dramatic series Kraft Television Theater and Robert Montgomery Presents, as well as co-starring with first wife, Cynthia Stone, in two short-lived sitcoms. After Lemmon landed a major role in the 1953 Broadway revival of Room Service, a talent scout for Columbia Pictures convinced the actor to try Hollywood instead. Defying Columbia chief Harry Cohn's demand that he change his last name lest the critics take advantage of it in negative reviews, Lemmon quickly made a positive impression in his first film, the Judy Holliday comic hit It Should Happen to You (1954) and quickly became a reliably nimble comic presence at Columbia. A loan out to Warner Bros. for the smash Mister Roberts (1955), however, truly began to reveal his ability. Drawing on his Navy memories to play the wily Ensign Pulver, Lemmon held his own opposite heavyweights Henry Fonda and James Cagney and won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his fourth film. A free-agent star by the end of the 1950s, he began one of his two most auspicious creative collaborations when writer/director Billy Wilder tapped him to play one of the cross-dressing musicians in the gender-tweaking comic classic Some Like It Hot (1959). As enthusiastically female bull fiddler Daphne to Tony Curtis' preening Lothario sax player Josephine, Lemmon danced a sidesplitting tango with millionaire suitor Joe E. Brown and delivered a sublime speechless reaction to Brown's nonchalant acceptance of his manhood. Fresh off a Best Actor nomination for Hot, he then gave an image-defining performance in Wilder's multiple-Oscar winner The Apartment (1960). As ambitious New York office drone C.C. Baxter, who climbs the corporate ladder by loaning his small one-bedroom to his philandering bosses, Lemmon was both the likeable cynic and beleaguered romantic, perfectly embodying Wilder's sardonic view of a venal world. Lemmon's turn as the put-upon quotidian schnook pervaded the rest of his career. Determined to prove that he could play serious roles as well as comic, Lemmon campaigned to play Lee Remick's alcoholic husband in Blake Edwards' film adaptation of the teleplay Days of Wine and Roses (1962). Revealing the darker side of middle-class desperation, Lemmon earned still more critical kudos and another Oscar nomination. Despite this triumph, he returned to comedy, re-teaming with Wilder and The Apartment co-star Shirley MacLaine in Irma la Douce (1963). Though the love story between a Parisian prostitute and a cop-turned-lover in disguise was a lesser effort, Irma la Douce became a major hit for the trio. Continuing to display his skill at offsetting his characters' unseemly behavior with his innate, ordinary-guy affability, Lemmon's mid-'60s comic roles included a lascivious landlord in Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963) and a homicidal husband in How to Murder Your Wife (1965). Lemmon began his second legendary creative partnership when Wilder cast Walter Matthau opposite him in The Fortune Cookie (1966). The duo's popularity was cemented when they

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
No Score Yet Portrait d'un homme 'à 60% parfait': Billy Wilder (Portrait of a '60% Perfect Man': Billy Wilder)
  • Actor
2012
No Score Yet Alex & The Gypsy
  • Actor
2011
No Score Yet Il était une fois... Certains l'aiment chaud
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Ladies or Gentlemen
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Long Way Home
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Uta Hagen's Acting Class
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet On Cukor
  • Actor
2000
43% The Legend of Bagger Vance
  • Old Hardy Greaves
$30.4M 2000
No Score Yet Forever Hollywood
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet Frank Sinatra Memorial
  • Actor
1999
71% Tuesdays With Morrie
  • Morrie Schwartz
1999
No Score Yet Inherit the Wind
  • Henry Drummond
1999
21% The Odd Couple II
  • Felix Ungar
1998
No Score Yet The Long Way Home
  • Tom Gerrin
1998
No Score Yet Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's
  • Actor
1997
92% 12 Angry Men
  • Juror #8
1997
38% Out to Sea
  • Herb
1997
95% Hamlet
  • Marcellus
1996
47% My Fellow Americans
  • Russell P. Kramer
1996
50% The Grass Harp
  • Morris Ritz
1996
No Score Yet A Weekend in the Country
  • Bud
  • Executive Producer
1996
0% Getting Away with Murder
  • Max Mueller
1996
17% Grumpier Old Men
  • John Gustafson
1995
No Score Yet Jane Goodall: My Life With the Chimpanzees
  • Actor
1995
65% Grumpy Old Men
  • John Gustafson
1993
95% Short Cuts
  • Paul Finnegan
1993
No Score Yet James Cagney: En la Cima del Mundo
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet A Life in the Theatre
  • Robert
1993
94% Glengarry Glen Ross
  • Shelley Levine
1992
98% The Player
  • Himself
1992
No Score Yet For Richer, for Poorer
  • Aram Katourian
1992
84% JFK
  • Jack Martin
1991
No Score Yet Remember Pearl Harbor
  • Actor
1991
No Score Yet Rita Hayworth: Dancing Into the Dream
  • Actor
1990
56% Dad
  • Jake Tremont
1989
No Score Yet The Murder of Mary Phagan
  • John Slaton
1988
No Score Yet Long Day's Journey into Night
  • James Tyrone
1987
46% That's Life!
  • Harvey Fairchild
1986
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Billy Wilder
  • Host
1986
No Score Yet Macaroni
  • Robert Traven
1985
No Score Yet Mass Appeal
  • Father Tim Farley
1984
97% Missing
  • Ed Horman
1982
62% Buddy Buddy
  • Victor Clooney
1981
No Score Yet Tribute
  • Scottie Templeton
1980
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Jimmy Stewart
  • Actor
1980
83% The China Syndrome
  • Jack Godell
1979
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Henry Fonda
  • Actor
1978
50% Airport '77
  • Capt. Don Gallagher
1977
No Score Yet The Prisoner of Second Avenue
  • Mel Edison
1975
73% The Front Page
  • Hildy Johnson
1974
91% Save the Tiger
  • Harry Stoner
1973
No Score Yet The War Between Men and Women
  • Peter Edward Wilson
1972
87% Avanti!
  • Wendell Armbruster, Jr.
1972
67% Kotch
  • Director
  • Stranger on Bus
1971
54% The Out-of-Towners
  • George Kellerman
1970
No Score Yet The April Fools
  • Howard Brubaker
1969
100% The Odd Couple
  • Felix Unger
1968
No Score Yet Luv
  • Harry Berlin
1967
95% The Fortune Cookie
  • Harry Hinkle
1966
74% The Great Race
  • Prof. Fate
1965
67% How to Murder Your Wife
  • Stanley Ford
1965
No Score Yet Good Neighbor Sam
  • Sam Bissell
1964
No Score Yet Under the Yum Yum Tree
  • Hogan
1963
86% Irma La Douce
  • Nestor Patou / Lord X
1963
100% Days of Wine and Roses
  • Joe Clay
1962
No Score Yet The Notorious Landlady
  • William Gridley
1962
No Score Yet The Wackiest Ship in the Army
  • Lt. Rip Crandall
1960
No Score Yet Pepe
  • Himself
1960
No Score Yet Voyage en ballon, Le (Stowaway in the Sky)
  • Narrator
1960
93% The Apartment
  • C.C. Baxter
1960
No Score Yet It Happened to Jane
  • George Denham
1959
96% Some Like It Hot
  • Jerry/Daphne
1959
75% Bell, Book and Candle
  • Nicky Holroyd
1958
No Score Yet Cowboy
  • Frank Harris
1958
No Score Yet Operation Mad Ball
  • Pvt. Hogan
1957
No Score Yet Fire Down Below
  • Tony
1957
No Score Yet You Can't Run Away From It
  • Peter Warne
1956
92% Mister Roberts
  • Ens. Frank Thurlowe Pulver
1955
No Score Yet Three for the Show (The Pleasure Is All Mine)
  • Martin 'Marty' Stewart
1955
No Score Yet My Sister Eileen
  • Bob Baker
1955
No Score Yet Phffft!
  • Robert Tracey
1954
100% It Should Happen to You
  • Pete Sheppard
1954
No Score Yet Studio One Anthology
  • Actor
1948

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet American Masters
2001
  • Actor
  • 2000
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
  • 1997

Quotes from Jack Lemmon's Characters