They were the unlikeliest of pairs—a handsome crooner and a skinny
monkey, an Italian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a Jew from Newark, New Jersey. Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre
career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen
Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together,
something clicked—something miraculous—and audiences saw it at once. Download and start listening now!
long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them,
creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold
over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies,
stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an
American institution. The millions (and the women) flowed in, seemingly
without end—and then, on July 24, 1956, ten years from the day when the
two men joined forces, it all ended.
After that traumatic day,
the two wouldn’t speak again for twenty years. And while both went on to
forge triumphant individual careers—Martin as a movie and television
star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of
the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director,
and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies—their parting
left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man’s heart.
a memoir by turns moving, tragic, and hilarious, Jerry Lewis recounts
with crystal clarity every step of a fifty-year friendship, from the
springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers
destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and Fifty-fourth
Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his
wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.
In Dean & Me,
Jerry Lewis makes a convincing case for Dean Martin as one of the
great—and most underrated—comic talents of our era. But what comes
across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love
Lewis felt, and still feels, for his partner, and which his partner felt
for him: truly a love to last for all time.