This post is a winner of ChicagoNow's 20 Best Posts of December, 2017.
Over the years I’ve developed a huge crush on the actor, Jack Lemmon. I’m not sure when it first started, but I’ve been a fan of his movies for many years. So much that I’d have married him if I had the chance.
Mr. Lemmon isn’t exactly the most striking and handsome actor of his time. For his roles, he mostly stuck to the representative next-door-type fella. But it’s the familiar faces that we grow to covet – those dear and sincere expressions from a faithful friend that we hold close to our hearts. They always know how to get us to laugh, too.
That’s what Jack Lemmon has become to me. And that’s why I have a huge crush on him. Why, if we were both around in the same day and age, I’d do everything I could to run across his path.
It all started with one of my favorite movies: Some Like It Hot. Hailed by many as one of the best comedies, Mr. Lemmon was nominated for an Oscar as best actor in a leading role. As musicians on the run from the mafia, Lemmon and his best buddy must dress as women in order to avoid recognition.
But while his cohort Tony Curtis attempts to resemble a demure and ladylike figure, Lemmon seizes a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and runs with the charade, having fun the entire way.
I couldn’t help falling in love with the actor as he made each line stand out:
Sweet Sue: “Are you two from the Poliakoff agency?”
Tony Curtis (asJosephine): “Yes, we’re the new girls.”
Jack Lemmon (as Daphne): “Brand new!”
He becomes even more irresistible and entertaining as he tries to fight off the advances of an amorous millionaire:
Osgood: You must be quite a girl.
Jack Lemmon (as Daphne): “Wanna bet?,” he brazenly responds.
And leave it to Director Billy Wilder to cast Lemmon in another great movie one year later. Lemmon’s sweet demeanor in The Apartment led me to believe there are great fellas in this world. Playing C.C. Baxter in the film, Jack Lemmon was caring and moralistic. When faced with turning the other cheek in order to gain his own good fortune, C.C. Baxter chose to stick to his principles -- an admirable trait.
Plus, how much fun was his cozy apartment, a respite from the wintry weather with its tiny rooms, old stove, and well-meaning but nosey neighbors? It’s the kind of place you’d love to curl up in with a loved one on a snowy Christmas morning. Who could blame Shirley MacLaine for falling in love with him in that story?
Years later Jack Lemmon was just as adorable as a lonely codger in Grumpy Old Men. It was no surprise for me that he won the affections of the local beauty in that romance -- the lovely Ann-Margret.
Mr. Lemmon was nominated several times for Oscars, winning Best Supporting Actor in 1956 for Mr. Roberts and the Best Actor award for Save the Tiger in 1973. Then in 1988 he won the Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
I give Jack Lemmon my own award: funny, adorable and sincere. His movie characters grab your attention and steal the show. He also stole my heart. But I don’t mind one bit.
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