Billy Wilder directed him in 7 movies: The Apartment (1960), Avanti! (1972), Buddy Buddy (1981), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Front Page (1974), Irma la Douce (1963) and Some Like It Hot (1959).
1947 graduate of Harvard University.
A passionate but unskilled golfer who tried for 33 years to make the cut at Pebble Beach but didn't.
An accomplished, self-taught pianist, he wrote the theme for the movie Tribute (1980) and played jazz in a Bobby Short TV special.
Appeared on an episode of "The Simpsons" (1989), in which he convinced Marge to get into the pretzel business. Shelley Levene, his character from Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), was the inspiration for another Simpsons character, the usually jobless Gil, who Marge first met while working at a real estate firm.
Appears in Mister Roberts (1955) with Henry Fonda, in which he takes over Fonda's position of Cargo Officer when Fonda is transferred off the USS Reluctant. In 12 Angry Men (1997) (TV), Lemmon plays the same juror that Fonda played in the original.
Before any take he would say, "It's magic time."
Best remembered by the public for his roles playing the "average Joe" and for his many roles opposite good friend Walter Matthau.
Born at 2:00pm-EST.
Described his flamboyant, authoritarian mother as "Tallulah Bankhead on a road show." Laughed about how she used to hang out with her girlfriends at the Ritz Bar in Boston and how she tried to have her cremation ashes placed on the bar (the management refused).
Did all of his own stunts for My Fellow Americans (1996).
During his early days as a contract player with Columbia Pictures, studio head Harry Cohn wanted Lemmon to change his screen name to "Jack Lennon." Cohn feared that critics would make use of Lemmon's last name (i.e., "Jack Lemmon's performance in the film is a lemon."). Lemmon convinced Conn if he changed his name to "Lennon," everyone would think that he was related to V.I. Lenin, the founder of Soviet Communism (this was the 1950s, the time of the McCarthy "Red Scare", and years before the appearance of John Lennon and The Beatles). Referring to Vladimir Lenin, Cohn told Lemmon, "No, that's wrong. They pronounce his name 'Len-IN." "No," Lemmon replied, firmly. "It's pronounced 'LEN-in." After making a phone call to a Russian associate, who confirmed that Lenin's name was pronounced "LEN-in",' Cohn agreed to let Lemmon keep his own name.
During WW II, he served in the Naval Reserve and was the communications officer on the USS Lake Champlain.
First actor to win two "Best Actor" Award at the Cannes Film Festival. (Dean Stockwell won twice at the festival before, but he had to share both of his awards with his co-stars)
Gil on The Simpsons is based on Lemmon's character Shelley Levine from Glen Gary Glen Ross.
Graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, MA, in 1943.
He and Walter Matthau acted together in 10 movies: Buddy Buddy (1981), The Fortune Cookie (1966), The Front Page (1974), The Grass Harp (1995), Grumpier Old Men (1995), Grumpy Old Men (1993), JFK (1991), The Odd Couple II (1998), The Odd Couple (1968) and Out to Sea (1997). Lemmon also directed Matthau in Kotch (1971).