Jack Lemmon

Highest Rated: 100% The Odd Couple (1968)
Birthday: Feb 8, 1925
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 re-teamed for the hit film versi


Highest Rated Movies



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 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
27% 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
36% Out to Sea Herb 1997
92% 12 Angry Men Juror #8 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
63% 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
95% 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
60% 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
84% The China Syndrome Jack Godell 1979
No Score Yet The AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards: Henry Fonda Actor 1978
38% Airport '77 Capt. Don Gallagher 1977
No Score Yet Alex & The Gypsy Alexander Main 1976
50% The Prisoner of Second Avenue Mel Edison 1975
68% The Front Page Hildy Johnson 1974
83% Save the Tiger Harry Stoner 1973
No Score Yet The War Between Men and Women Peter Edward Wilson 1972
88% Avanti! Wendell Armbruster, Jr. 1972
75% Kotch Director Stranger on Bus 1971
60% 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
96% The Fortune Cookie Harry Hinkle 1966
74% The Great Race Prof. Fate 1965
69% 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
83% 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
94% The Apartment C.C. Baxter 1960
No Score Yet It Happened to Jane George Denham 1959
97% Some Like It Hot Jerry/Daphne 1959
77% 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


No Score Yet American Masters
  • 2000
85% The Simpsons
  • 1997