Jack Lemmon

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-hour Archive interview, Jack Lemmon (1925-2001) discusses his early television appearances on sitcoms and anthology teleplays, and his guest appearances in variety shows. He recalls becoming an established motion picture star in the 1950s, most notably in Billy Wilder's film Some Like It Hot.  He talks about his return to television in 1972, in one of his favorite specials, Jack Lemmon in 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Gershwin. He outlines some of the television movies he appeared in, starting from the late 1980s, which included The Murder of Mary Phagan, A Long Day's Journey Into Night and 12 Angry Men. Morrie Gelman conducted the interview in Beverly Hills, California on November 4, 1998.

"Truthfully, you can't be remembered as the best actor. Because you never are going to be the best, there is also no such thing as the best. What there is, is a lot of very good actors, which I hope to be one of, that at the right time in their life, with the right part, can give a performance that nobody else can give. There's a lot of them. And it happens."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Jack Lemmon on his variety special 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, S' Gershwin
Jack Lemmon on hosting The Academy Awards
Jack Lemmon on why he didn't want to be in the television version of The Odd Couple
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the Playhouse 90 production of "Face of a Hero"
Jack Lemmon on the challenges of acting on live television 
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on actors he admired while growing up
On moving to New York to become an actor; on his first big break on the radio; on Kraft Television Theatre  and appearing on live television

Chapter 2

On working on Studio One; on early public reaction to him; on doing both drama and comedy; on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted his friends and colleagues
On acting on live television in the '50s; on Ford Television Theatre's  "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"; on the challenges of acting on live television 

Chapter 3

On acting on live television and his musical abilities; on taking acting lessons and performing on Broadway; on appearing in the feature "It Should Happen to You"
On being under contract to Columbia and playing "Ensign Pulver" in "Mister Roberts"; on why he stopped doing television; on appearing on the Playhouse 90  production of "Face of a Hero"; on appearing in the film version of "Days of Wine and Roses"

Chapter 4

On why he didn't want to be in the television version of The Odd Couple; on his variety special 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous S' Gershwin; on starring in a television production of Long Day's Journey Into Night
On the best roles of his career; on his overall opinion of television programming and the then-future of television; on various people he's worked with in his career; on his family
Shows

Academy Awards, The

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Jack Lemmon on hosting The Academy Awards

Ford Television Theatre

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Jack Lemmon on appearing on Ford Television Theatre's  "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"

Heaven for Betsy

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Jack Lemmon on appearing on the series Heaven for Betsy and the Hollywood Blacklist 

Kraft Television Theatre

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Jack Lemmon on acting on Kraft Television Theatre  and appearing on live television

Murder of Mary Phagan, The

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Jack Lemmon on starring in The Murder of Mary Phagan 

Odd Couple, The (1970-75)

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Jack Lemmon on why he didn't want to be in the television version of The Odd Couple

Playhouse 90

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Jack Lemmon on appearing on the Playhouse 90 production of "Face of a Hero"

Studio One

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Jack Lemmon on working on Studio One 
Topics

Anthology Drama

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Jack Lemmon on acting on Kraft Television Theatre  and appearing on live television
Jack Lemmon on working on Studio One 
Jack Lemmon on appearing on Ford Television Theatre's  "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the Playhouse 90  production of "Face of a Hero"

Bloopers

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Jack Lemmon on the worst thing that happened to him on live television

First Big Break

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Jack Lemmon on his first big break on the radio

Hollywood Blacklist

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Jack Lemmon on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted his friends and colleagues
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the series Heaven for Betsy  and the Hollywood Blacklist 

Industry Crossroads

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Jack Lemmon on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted his friends and colleagues
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the series Heaven for Betsy  and the Hollywood Blacklist 

Pivotal Career Moments

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Jack Lemmon on his first big break on the radio

TV's Golden Age (1940s & '50s)

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Jack Lemmon on acting on Kraft Television Theatre  and appearing on live television
Jack Lemmon on working on Studio One 
Jack Lemmon on appearing on Ford Television Theatre's "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the Playhouse 90 production of "Face of a Hero"

Television Industry

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Jack Lemmon on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted his friends and colleagues
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the series Heaven for Betsy  and the Hollywood Blacklist 
Jack Lemmon on his overall opinion of television programming
Jack Lemmon on the then-future of television
Professions

Actor

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Jack Lemmon on the challenges of acting on live television 
Jack Lemmon on acting on live television
Jack Lemmon on taking acting lessons 

Performers

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Jack Lemmon on the challenges of acting on live television 
Jack Lemmon on acting on live television
Jack Lemmon on taking acting lessons 
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Jack Lemmon on acting on Kraft Television Theatre  and appearing on live television
Jack Lemmon on working on Studio One 
Jack Lemmon on appearing on Ford Television Theatre's  "The Day Lincoln Was Shot"
Jack Lemmon on appearing on the Playhouse 90  production of "Face of a Hero"

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Jack Lemmon on his variety special 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, S' Gershwin

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

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Jack Lemmon on appearing in the special The Entertainer  
People

Fred Coe

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Jack Lemmon on Fred Coe

John Frankenheimer

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Jack Lemmon on appearing in the Playhouse 90 production of "Face of a Hero"

Judy Holliday

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Jack Lemmon on appearing in the feature "It Should Happen to You"

Walter Matthau

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Jack Lemmon on working with Walter Matthau 

Billy Wilder

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Jack Lemmon on working with Billy Wilder

All Interviews

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