Jack Lemmon's gift for broad physical comedy and soul-searching drama made him one of Hollywood's most beloved and accomplished actors.
For many, Lemmon was best known for his films with longtime foil Walter Matthau, including "The Odd Couple," "The Fortune Cookie" and "The Front Page."
From the opportunistic Ensign Pulver in "Mister Roberts," to Tony Curtis' sidekick in "Some Like It Hot," to the baleful C.C. "Bud" Baxter in the romantic comedy "The Apartment," Lemmon in just the span of 1955 to 1960 established himself as one of America's top comic actors.
In 1962, he and actress Lee Remick offered a devastating depiction of alcoholism as a couple whose addictions destroy their marriage in "Days of Wine and Roses," for which he received an Oscar nomination.
A decade later, in "Save the Tiger," Lemmon epitomized the confusion and disillusionment of the 1970s with his portrayal of Harry Stoner, a Los Angeles garment manufacturer in the throes of a breakdown.
In 1955, at age 29, Lemmon's career began its meteoric ascent with his Oscar-winning performance in "Mister Roberts" opposite two screen giants—Henry Fonda and James Cagney.
Billy Wilder also brought Lemmon and actress Shirley MacLaine together in film: first in "The Apartment" and later in "Irma la Douce."
But his best-known collaboration was with his close friend Matthau, with whom he made 10 films.
In their first film together, Wilder's 1966 "The Fortune Cookie," Lemmon was cast as a television cameraman injured during a football game and prodded by his conniving brother-in-law, Matthau, to fake injuries for a lawsuit.
Two years later, the two were paired in Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple," with Lemmon cast as the fastidious Felix Unger and Matthau as the slob sportswriter Oscar Madison.
In 1999, Lemmon won an Emmy for his performance as an inspiring teacher stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease in the television film "Tuesdays With Morrie."
|1955||Best Supporting Actor||Mister Roberts||Win|
|1959||Best Actor||Some Like It Hot||Nomination|
|1960||Best Actor||The Apartment||Nomination|
|1962||Best Actor||Days of Wine and Roses||Nomination|
|1973||Best Actor||Save the Tiger||Win|
|1979||Best Actor||The China Syndrome||Nomination|