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Jack Lemmon: America's Everyman Previous Broadcasts

Episode #401

KQED Life: Mon, Nov 1, 2010 -- 3:00 AM

Jack Lemmon was born in Boston, graduated from Harvard and then headed for New York City to become a professional actor. His first acting roles were in soap operas and live TV dramas. But it was his appearance in a Broadway revival of Room Service that led to a co-starring role with Judy Holliday in his first movie, It Should Happen to You (1954). His unmistakable intellect and his boyish, average looks played against him becoming a romantic leading man. But his live TV and comedy training gave him the perfect timing, the precise emotional balance and the total believability that showed in films as diverse as Mister Roberts (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and The Odd Couple (1968). In his later films, Save the Tiger (1973), The China Syndrome (1979) and Glengarry Glenn Ross (1992), Jack exposed the darker side of the American way of life.
Jack Lemmon made more than 60 films and received numerous awards, including 8 Academy Award Nominations and 2 Oscars. Narrated on-camera by Jack Lemmon, this profile includes interviews with Lemmon's son, actor Chris Lemmon. Also appearing are such legends as Jack's life-long friend, the writer and director Billy Wilder, writer-director Garson Kanin, drama teacher Uta Hagen, and actor Gregory Peck. Actors Charles Durning, Maureen Stapleton, Betty Garrett, and Kevin Spacey, writer Neil Simon, director Delbert Mann, and other Hollywood luminaries help complete the profile. Clips from some of Lemmon's major films as well as archival footage add to this portrait of one of America's most illustrious and productive stars.

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