Name at birth: John Uhler Lemmon III
A two-time Oscar winner, Jack Lemmon often played struggling underdogs like the neurotic Felix Ungar in the 1968 movie The Odd Couple. Jack Lemmon attended Harvard and turned to acting after serving in the Navy. He appeared in dozens of high-profile films over 50 years, including the Billy Wilder comedies Some Like It Hot (1959, with Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis), The Apartment (1960, with Shirley MacLaine) and Irma La Douce (1963, also with MacLaine). He has also proved himself in dramas, including The Days of Wine and Roses (1962), Missing (1982), and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992, with Alec Baldwin). Lemmon won a best supporting actor Oscar as the scheming Ensign Pulver in Mister Roberts (1955, his best-known role until Felix Unger), and won the best actor award for the 1973 drama Save the Tiger. In The Odd Couple he teamed up with Walter Matthau, his collaborator on many other projects, including The Fortune Cookie (1966), Grumpy Old Men (1993) and Out to Sea (1997).
Jack Lemmon produced the 1967 Paul Newman film Cool Hand Luke… He played many times in the annual pro-am golf tournament at Pebble Beach, often paired with pro Peter Jacobsen; Lemmon’s futile attempts to make the tournament cut became a good-natured annual news story… On the Odd Couple TV series, Felix and Oscar were played by Tony Randall and Jack Klugman; in the original Broadway show they were played by Matthau and Art Carney… In 1998, actor Ving Rhames handed his own Golden Globe for acting to Jack Lemmon, in what became a famous awards-ceremony moment.