Monday, August 21, 2017

Brotherly Love: Why Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin Never Really Broke Up

Tim Grierson
Hey pallies, likes Dino-history is still bein' made and yesterday, August 20, 2017 will now be an immensely important date in our Dino's story as yesterday our most beloved Dino's most beloved partner in comedy, Mr. Jerry Lewis left our planet at the age of 91.  Certainly we gotta 'fess up that we have mixed emotions on Lewis' passin'.  Likes indeed we are deeply saddened by the lost of Mr. Lewis from our presence, and the loss of the man who knew our Dino better then any other livin' bein'.

But, we also gotta 'fess up that with the death of Mr. Lewis comes a awesomely amazin' outpourin' of powerfully potent prose rememberin' Lewis' life and times and thus many many marvelous mentions of our Dino and his decade long remarkable relationship with him.  We here at ilovedinomartin are committed to share many many of the touchin' 'n tender tributes to Mr. Lewis that have been scribed and will continue to be scribed in the comin' days.

We begin today on this day after Mr. Lewis' passin' with wonderfully wise words scribed by author Mr. Tim Grierson,  a contributing editor for entertainment at "MEL Magazine - How to be a guy."
Mr. Grierson's hugely honorin' homage is tagged "Brotherly Love: Why Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin Never Really Broke Up" and is a marvelous mix of prose and vid clips awesomely accentin' the "brotherly love" relationship that our Dino and Mr. Lewis shared durin' their decade together as well as afterword.

We are proudly pleased to begin our series of posts on the relationship between our Dino and Mr. Lewis with this energetic effort and we shouts out our thank you very much to Mr. Tim Grierson and all the pallies at "Mel Magazine' for this respect reflection of the  ubber unique relationship that our Dino and Mr. Lewis shared.  To checks this out in it's original source, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-gram.

We remain,

Yours in Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

Brotherly Love: Why Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin Never Really Broke Up

Jerry Lewis met Dean Martin in New York in March 1945. As he later recounted in Dean & Me: (A Love Story), Lewis was newly married with a kid on the way, and he was trying to make his name as an oddball comic when he crossed paths with Martin, who instantly captivated him. “Men don’t like to admit it,” Lewis writes in the memoir, “but there’s something about a truly handsome guy who also happens to be truly masculine — what they call a man’s man — that’s as magnetic to us as it is to women. That’s what I want to be like, you think. Maybe if I hang around with him, some of that’ll rub off on me.”

In Martin, who was about nine years older, Lewis (an only child) found an older brother who seemed far more confident and sophisticated than he did as a geeky, insecure teen. “The truth is, funny sentences were always running through my brain: I thought funny,” Lewis wrote in Dean & Me. “But I was ashamed of what would come out if I spoke — that nasal kid’s voice. So I was funny on stage, but I was only part funny: I was still looking for the missing piece.”

Martin was the missing piece, playing the suave straight guy to Lewis’s crazy buffoon. They quickly went from nightclubs to radio to television to movies, the name “Martin and Lewis” becoming synonymous with a kind of high/low comedic assault that merged banter and vaudeville.

The legend of this duo — who were one of the biggest acts of the 1950s — sometimes simplifies the two men into Martin as the dull, crooning dreamboat and Lewis as the hyperactive “monkey,” to use the term Lewis mockingly ascribed to himself. Those simplifications did a disservice to both men, which Lewis acknowledged in his book, giving Martin his due as a comedic mastermind and an expert ad-libber. “Over the next 60 years, I would come to understand it better and better,” he explained of Martin’s talent. “The vast majority of comedians with good rhythm use beats — small hesitations, often with some comic business or other — to set up their jokes. Dean didn’t use beats. I was in the presence of magic.”

But eventually, egos got in the way. On film, Martin may have been the cooler, older brother, but behind the scenes, Lewis had all the control, longing to be seen as the true genius. As Martin later complained, “He read a book about Chaplin,” referring to the iconic screen legend Charlie Chaplin, who wrote, directed and produced his own material. “At some point, [Lewis] said to himself, ‘I’m exactly like Chaplin,’ and from then on no one could tell him anything.” Such frustrations no doubt inspired Martin to once famously lash out at his partner, “[You’re] nothing to me but a fucking dollar sign.”

After 10 years together, Martin and Lewis finally parted ways, both men finding success on their own. Martin became part of the Rat Pack, while Lewis began starring in his own movies, eventually taking the reins of his career by writing and directing features like The Nutty Professor. In that film, Lewis plays his trademark screwball-character type as Julius Kelp, a nerdy scientist who transforms himself into the despicable Buddy Love, a swingin’ lothario that many assumed was supposed to be a savage parody of Lewis’ old partner. (Lewis always denied it.)

But despite the fact that the two performers refused to speak to one another after their split, their association remained, years later, fully cemented in the public’s imagination. As film critic Shawn Levy, who wrote the biography King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis, observed, “There was a strange hint of something like sexuality between” Martin and Lewis in their films. For instance, they remade romantic comedies but turned them into buddy movies in which Lewis was always the female role.

Also, Levy points out, “There was an unusual physical intimacy to their act — Dean would lift Jerry in his arms like a big baby, they would pat one another’s cheeks, they nearly kissed on camera at times, staring into each other’s eyes with big, sincere grins.”

All of that may be true, but it more accurately translated into brotherly love than any kind of sexual repression. Their partnership, and its aftermath, was everything we’ve come to expect from siblings: contentious, but with a begrudging understanding that the other person knows you better than anyone else. Little wonder that after they split, as Lewis writes in Dean & Me, “I understood how an amputee must feel.”

It wasn’t until their mutual friend Frank Sinatra got them on stage together during the 1976 Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon that they once again shared the spotlight. Sinatra surprised Lewis with Martin’s appearance, which threw the host for a loop. As he recalled later, “I just looked up to heaven and said, ‘Dear God, give me something to say.’”

When Martin died in 1995, Lewis went to the funeral. As he writes in Dean & Me, “I lost my partner and my best friend. The man who made me the man I am today. I think of him with undying respect. I miss him every day I’m still here.”

While Martin and Lewis had gone their separate ways, they never could escape one another.
Just like family.

Tim Grierson is a contributing editor at MEL. He last wrote about whether or not death would be easier to deal with if you could replicate and control your loved ones.


Always On Watch said...

Excellent tribute at YouTube: "Farewell Tribute to Jerry Lewis 1926 - 2017¸.•**❤️(with Dean Martin) He will be missed!"

The blurb for the video:

Published on Aug 20, 2017

Jerry Lewis sadly passed away on Aug 20, 2017. My tribute is with his BFF Dean Martin - Martin & Lewis. They are brothers who thankfully reunited in 1976 and now are together forever in Heaven. Jerry Lewis has done many things over his career : movies, TV, singing and the Telethons. He will be best remembered for his work with his brother Dino. Both of you are together again - rest in peace and say hi to Dean Martin for us❤️. They are two of my favorite Best Friends and my channel is dedicated to Best Friends.

Song by : Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis : Side By Side...

Always On Watch said...

Note that the video to which I linked in my previous comment shows a bit of rare footage: Dean and Jerry together again at Bally's Casino Hotel on our Dino's 72nd birthday in 1989, two years after Dino Jr. passed away in 1987.

Check out the the brief article in the June 8, 1989 edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Danny G. said...

Touchin' post, pal. He truly loved Dino & I think in Dean's way...the feelin' was mutual. RIP Jer.

Danny G. said...

Man o man, Ms. AOW! I gots to be honest...that 89' footage really choked me up! Poor Jerry. REALLY loved our Dino! You could see it! Gets me missin' Dean all over 'gain! It gots me feelin' all melancholy too. The final curtain has finally fallen for Martin & Lewis. Sad.

Always On Watch said...

Danny G.
that 89' footage really choked me up! Poor Jerry. REALLY loved our Dino!

I feel the same about the footage.

You know, it is very possible that Jerry loved only one person with all his heart: Dean Martin. It is a pity for Jerry that he became so pushy and caused our Dino to walk away from the partnership.

Ultimately, of course, the split allowed our Dino to pursue a more varied career.

I'm glad that Dean and Jerry finally reconciled. Interesting that Jerry never revealed a great deal about their conversations those last several years.

I'm sure you've seen the blog post here today, the blog post from the Daily Mail. So sad that Jerry lost Dean to death in 1995, then his own son in 2009. I have to wonder if Jerry was ever happy after his best friend and brother had passed.