Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lewis was in awe of Martin and a little in love with him.

Hey pallies, likes we're back with more swank scribin' on our most beloved Dino and his most beloved partner, Mr. Jerry Lewis.  This time 'round the rememberin' comes from the Brit blog, "DailyMail.com."  Written by Mr. Michael Thornton this look into the decade long partnership of Martin and Lewis is tagged "How Hollywood's golden double act became its most bitter enemies: As Nutty Professor star Jerry Lewis dies at 91, the toxic truth behind his goofing around with Dean Martin."

Likes while the prose shares bits and pieces of Mr. Lewis' life and time, the beautiful bulk of Thornton's words focus on the partnership of stunnin'ly successful partnership of Martin and Lewis that after ten years went awry.   While the prose reveals some less then complimentary comments on Lewis, I don't believe that anythin' really negative is said here 'bout our most beloved Dino.  And, if youse are like we, you will find one or two thoughts shared 'bout Martin and Lewis that are new to the mix.

We thanks Mr. Michael Thornton and all the pallies at "DailyNews.com" for not only rememberin' the passin' of Mr. Jerry Lewis, but takin' this opportunity to remember the remarkable relationship between our Dino and Mr. Lewis.  To checks this out in it's original source, likes simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-message.

We remain,

Yours in Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

How Hollywood's golden double act became its most bitter enemies: As Nutty Professor star Jerry Lewis dies at 91, the toxic truth behind his goofing around with Dean Martin

By Michael Thornton for the Daily Mail

Controversial: Jerry Lewis, right, with Dean Martin

Controversial: Jerry Lewis, right, with Dean Martin

For many people, Jerry Lewis, who has died at the age of 91, was an acquired taste. His screen persona — the disaster-prone, goonish, goofy dimwit, with a face that mugged so incessantly that it resembled a rubber mask — was one that some found resistible.

As he fell down stairs, off ladders, out of windows and planes, into holes in the road and swimming pools, cinema audiences were inclined to become exhausted by the spectacle. The distinguished critic Milton Shulman once told me that he would rather crawl through ten miles of barbed wire than sit through a Jerry Lewis movie.

Yet there was no denying his astonishing popularity. From 1952, for five consecutive years Lewis and his screen partner, singer Dean Martin, were among the top ten money-making stars in the world.

After his acrimonious split from Martin in 1956, Lewis alone continued to make the list of the golden ten, and then in 1963, his name, as a top box-office star, abruptly vanished from view.

Four years later, it was Dean Martin’s turn to enter the list as an international money-maker. There was an irony in this, for the bitter professional rivalry between the former partners had escalated into something resembling hatred.

 As a man, Jerry Lewis, to put it mildly, was controversial. He was very far from being the cuddly innocent of his screen portrayals. In private, he had a violent and uncontrollable temper. He was to be accused, by two of his six sons, of being a cruel and abusive father. He split from their mother, his first wife, after 35 years of marriage, and married a girl half her age.

Even his much-publicised philanthropy and fund-raising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association was to provoke criticism from MD sufferers and friends alike.

Actor Elliott Gould, to whom Lewis had been a childhood idol, was to say of him: ‘He blatantly tells you on network TV that he is the epitome of the socially conscious man, a great humanitarian . . . Actually, he’s one of the most hostile and unpleasant guys I’ve ever seen.’

'Lewis and Martin had little in common but somehow, on stage, they gelled'

'Lewis and Martin had little in common but somehow, on stage, they gelled'

Jerry Lewis was born Joseph Levitch to Russian parents on March 16, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey, where his father, who used the stage name, Danny Lewis, was appearing in vaudeville. His mother, Rachel Brodsky, was a pianist for a radio station.

Jerry, as he would call himself, started performing at five, often alongside his parents. By 15, he had developed an act in which he mimed to records.

Two days after his 18th birthday, Lewis met a band singer five years his senior, Patti Palmer, who defied her Italian-Catholic parents and Jerry’s Jewish family to marry him. At the age of 20, and with their first son now a year old, Lewis appeared for the first time at the 500 Club in Atlantic City with a handsome Italian singer nine years older than himself.

 His name was Dino Crocetti, but he called himself Dean Martin.

An effective double act was forged, with Lewis as the ad-libbing clown and comic, and Martin as the charming, attractive and relaxed ‘straight man’ who provided the songs.

They had little in common but somehow, on stage, they gelled. The act began to play top dates and then graduated to radio with their own show. In June 1948, two years after their first appearance together, the duo took America by storm in Ed Sullivan’s Toast Of The Town TV show.

A Hollywood producer caught their nightclub act and signed them to a five-year contract with Paramount, starting in 1949 with the comedy, My Friend Irma, the first of 16 films in which Martin and Lewis were to become box-office gold.

In 1952, they appeared in The Stooge, which seemed like an autobiographical study of a vaudeville double-act like their own, with Martin giving a surprisingly strong performance as a conceited song-and-dance man and drunk. Hollywood insiders didn’t think he had to do too much acting.

Both men were heterosexual, but their friends believed the impressionable and highly emotional Lewis was in awe of Martin and a little in love with him.

It was here that the divergence in their characters became crucial. Lewis was frenetic, obsessive and ambitious, qualities that made the laid-back Martin uncomfortable. As Lewis himself admitted: ‘When the light goes on in the refrigerator, I do 20 minutes.’

Martin observed cynically: ‘At some point he said to himself, “I’m extraordinary, like Chaplin”. From then on nobody could tell him anything. He knew it all.’

As their fame increased, the stresses and strains magnified. Lewis accused his wife, Patti, of having an affair with Martin. There were rumours that the comedy partners had been involved in a violent fist-fight.

Lewis felt himself excluded and sidelined from The Rat Pack, the showbiz entourage surrounding Frank Sinatra, in which Dean Martin was a central figure. ‘The Mob’, it was said of the group’s supposed Mafia links, ‘tolerated Jerry but they loved Dean’.

Lewis told Martin of ‘the love we still have for each other’. Martin replied coldly: ‘You can talk about love all you want. To me, you’re nothing but a dollar sign.’

And so the partnership that had made millions at the box-office ended in bitterness and enmity. Lewis admitted he was in tears, shaking and fearful of the future, but neither would back down.

'The partnership that had made millions at the box-office ended in bitterness and enmity'

'The partnership that had made millions at the box-office ended in bitterness and enmity'

Apart from brief formal encounters, there was to be no reconciliation between them for 20 years, and even then it was temporary.

No public explanation was given for the split, and for many years neither man would speak the other’s name. In 2005, ten years after Martin’s death, Lewis published a schmaltzy apologia of his relationship with Martin, entitled, Dean And Me (A Love Story).

To the surprise of Hollywood observers, Lewis’s career survived the loss of Dean Martin. In 1959, Paramount negotiated a new long-term contract with him. ‘Fantastic terms’, said Lewis, ‘the price staggering. I would star in 14 films over the next seven years and get ten million dollars.’

Many of these films – such as The Bellboy, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy, and The Family Jewels — Lewis not only starred in but also wrote and directed.

But his brand of frantic comedy began to go out of style. His name vanished from the list of top money-making stars after 1963. By 1971, public support and financial backing had evaporated.

Lewis, now 45, was no longer an appealing juvenile, and Paramount dropped him. For a time, he taught a film directing class at the University of Southern California, where his students included Steven Spielberg.

His fortunes improved with his performance in Martin Scorsese’s film, The King Of Comedy, in 1983, as a late-night TV host, who is plagued by obsessive fans

In September 1980, after 35 years of marriage, Patti, weary of her husband’s serial infidelity, filed for divorce, claiming $450,000 a year in alimony and half their community property, judged to be worth in excess of $7 million.

Lewis filed for bankruptcy, and Patti eventually received less than one-quarter of the amount she had sought. She was forced to give up her Hollywood home in 1993 and move into a small apartment in West Los Angeles.

When Lewis’s 1963 film, The Nutty Professor, was remade with Eddie Murphy in 1996, Patti went to court to claim Lewis had tried to cut her out of the remake profits, of which she was entitled to 50 per cent.

Lewis married Sandra Pitnick, a dancer half Patti’s age and 25 years his junior. They adopted a daughter, Danielle, on whom Lewis lavished paternal affection, which was in marked contrast to how he had treated his sons.

He disowned his youngest son Joseph in 1989 after he informed a tabloid that his father ‘physically and mentally abused all of his kids on a routine basis’.

When Joseph died of a drug overdose in 2009, Lewis made no comment, and failed even to inform his eldest son, pop musician Gary Lewis, of his brother’s death.

Now that Jerry Lewis has died, his old films will be played and that manic energy will leap from the screen once more. But all the gurning in the world cannot wipe away the traumas this singular performer left in his wake.


Always On Watch said...

In many ways, Jerry Lewis was like a tragic Shakespearean hero.

Each of Shakespeare's heroes had great potential, but each also had a fatal flaw.

Our Dino was a different kind of hero -- not a tragic hero at all. He was too much the King of Cool to be a tragic Shakespearean hero.

Furthermore, our Dino was more like a comedic hero from one of Shakespeare's comedies. Shakespeare's comedic heroes were rocked to their core, but they managed to continue enjoying life. They lived life to the full!

Danny G. said...

Great comparison, Ms. AOW. Dean & Jer were nothin' alike for the most part, in my opinion. Jer craved the attention & the spotlight. Wanted complete control. Dino, on the other hand...did what was required & then hit the golf course. A true master of livin' the simple life & made it look so damn easy! Got us all thinkin'..."why can't I be like that?" Haha!! One of a kind for sure!

Always On Watch said...

Danny G.,
We are on exactly the same page!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallies, likes thanks so very much Miss AOW and Danny-o for these incredible insights into the Dino-persona! Keeps lovin' 'n sharin' our one, our only Dino!