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Everybody loves somebody sometime (especially himself) : the story of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

Author: Arthur Marx
Publisher: New York : Hawthorn Books, [1974]
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
As a comedy act, Martin & Lewis was considered by many critics to be on a par with Laurel & Hardy and the Marx Brothers--yet others regarded them as no-talent saloon entertainers. Nevertheless, they skyrocketed from $200 per week to $20 million per year before their breakup. Biographer Arthur Marx points out that most entertainment duos eventually split up. In the case of the Martin & Lewis duo, Martin gradually  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Dean Martin; Jerry Lewis; Jerry Lewis; Dean Martin
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Arthur Marx
ISBN: 080152430X 9780801524301
OCLC Number: 1004022
Description: 288 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Responsibility: Arthur Marx.

Abstract:

As a comedy act, Martin & Lewis was considered by many critics to be on a par with Laurel & Hardy and the Marx Brothers--yet others regarded them as no-talent saloon entertainers. Nevertheless, they skyrocketed from $200 per week to $20 million per year before their breakup. Biographer Arthur Marx points out that most entertainment duos eventually split up. In the case of the Martin & Lewis duo, Martin gradually came to resent playing stooge to Lewis, who gave himself the best laugh lines and subsequently began to believe his own publicity--that he was the second coming of Charlie Chaplin--and who wanted to write, direct, produce, lead the band compose the music, handle the camera, and even sing, despite a voice that one critic wrote was reminiscent of the "croaking of a parched parrot." Dean Martin's real name is Dino Crocetti, and he's the son of an Italian immigrant barber. His checkered career includes being a high school dropout, an amateur boxer, a bootlegger, and a gambling stickman. Jerry Lewis's real name is Joseph Levitch, and he's the son of small-time vaudevillians. There is hardly anyone who knows and understands the Hollywood scene better than Arthur Marx. In putting together this never-told-before, complete story of Martin & Lewis, he not only comes up with many new and amusing revelations and anecdotes about his protagonists, but, at the same time, he gives the reader a shocking glimpse into the cutthroat world of show business, where money is king, no holds are barred (either in front of the camera or in the bedroom), and past loyalties are forgotten in the mad scramble for superstardom. In this Hollywood the end usually justi?es the means, and the means are provided by an assortment of Machiavellian characters, from small-time agents to powerful studio moguls, from "go-fors" to overambitious gag men, from wives to lovers, all working diligently behind the scenes to shape the careers of Martin & Lewis for their personal gain or happiness. The book explores graphically and frankly the early lives of both stars, how they got their starts in the entertainment world, how they came together as a team; it gives the inside story of their separation, then traces their subsequent careers. Experts predicted that Martin working alone was doomed to oblivion as a saloon crooner, while Lewis would scale new heights. As Martin & Lewis fans are aware, the reverse actually happened. But how it happened is one of the fascinating stories of show business, which Arthur Marx tells in scrupulous detail, with both humor and insight. The author provides full coverage of the zany antics of Martin & Lewis during their heyday as a comedy team, exposes their penchant for outrageous practical jokes and their tyrannical relationship with their gag writers and other employees. Dino's role as husband, father, and lover comes under keen scrutiny. We see Jerry's courtship and long marriage to Patti and the trials and tribulations of an entertainer's wife. And we see Dino's pursuit of his first wife, Betty, the events leading to the bustup of the marriage--then the marriage to Jeanne, the dissolution of that union, and the resulting marriage to his present wife, Cathy. The whole story is here--the events, the people, the joys, the agonies that warped and twisted and shaped the lives of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis--and it adds up to a remarkably poignant and affecting portrait of two partners who, behind their public display of bitterness during their breakup, really loved each other (but not as much as they loved themselves).--Dust jacket.

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