What was the best Dean Martin movie
Jerry Lewis: "I was Dean Martin's best joke"
After fifty years, Jerry Lewis decided to break the silence about Dean Martin. In his book "Dean & Me: A Love Story", which was published in America in October, the star comedian describes his relationship with the singing grinder, with whom he formed the funniest duo in film history in the 1950s. It's also fun how Lewis welcomes WELT to an interview in the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin in the midst of his entourage. In a tracksuit. And pretty crazy. He repeats the photographer's name several times in disbelief. He makes faces. And then sings an incomprehensible children's song that consists of the syllables of the photographer's first name.
Die WELT: You seem to be in a good mood ...
Jerry Lewis: I have. I'm in berlin. I love coming here.
DIE WELT: You have written a book of particular importance ...
Lewis: Oh yeah, it's an important book. If you want to know something about the story, go see someone who was there. That's why this book sells so well in the States. I think I mainly sell it to people over 50. Because they saw that back then. But young people also want to know what their parents are talking about.
DIE WELT: It could also have something to do with the fact that Dean Martin is again very popular with the youth. His songs are being sung again. Why?
Lewis: He was always a very important and big star. Only: the people did not show him the respect he deserved. He was underestimated. I don't know if what I've done can be called repentance. But I've felt guilty all these years that people didn't see his size when we were together. People now realize that they were wrong. I loved him as I love my son.
DIE WELT: The subtitle of your book is "A love story" ...
Lewis: Yeah, when you've read it through, you'll say it's a love story. It's funny, sad, it's warm ...
DIE WELT: Also tragic?
Lewis: Yes, there is also something tragic there, of course. There is nothing in this world, no matter how beautiful, that does not also have a touch of drama and tragedy.
DIE WELT: When we talk about a love story: Was your first meeting a romantic wink of fate?
Lewis: It was like a chemical reaction. He knew I was the funniest thing he had ever seen, and I thought he was the most handsome man I have ever seen. I'd heard him sing on the radio, so I knew his voice. In retrospect, you can perhaps say: I was definitely not as funny at the time as he thought, and he also didn't sing as outstandingly as I thought. When we got together, we both improved a lot. Incidentally, I wrote 3000 manuscript pages about our time together. Only 700 of these were used in the book. So I'm going to do a second part soon with the title: "All that stuff I couldn't get in the first book". That'll be out next November.
DIE WELT: In your memory: What was Dean Martin's best joke?
Lewis: Oh god. I was his best joke! No, he was wonderful. He made so many jokes! But one thing was particularly good. On our show, I was always the first to come out and introduce my partner. I've always done it differently. One evening I said: Now I would like to introduce you to someone who, in my opinion, is the most stylish, dignified and prettiest singer in the world. Enter Dean Martin. Wonderful jacket. Blossom white pocket square. Flower in the buttonhole. And: - no pants. People got hysterical. Me too. I then got him pants backstage so he could sing.
DIE WELT: Who actually gets the girls - the funny or the cool?
Lewis: The funny one.
DIE WELT: Why did the break between you and Martin fifty years ago?
Lewis: I don't want to say anything about that. Everything is in the book. We won't talk about it.
DIE WELT: Why did you decide that the time has come to break your years of silence and publish this book?
Lewis: Because the time had come. No more. Move on to other questions.
DIE WELT: Good. She and Dean Martin started a tradition of crazy couples like Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau ...
Lewis: They were wonderful. The difference was: we were both not only the guys on the screen, but also in clubs and on TV. No matter what we did there: We were always the same guys. With Lemmon and Matthau you had to go to the cinema to see them. It was different with us.
DIE WELT: Perhaps your close cooperation outside of the film set was also a reason for the separation?
Lewis: It was no different from being married. Two men who loved each other and after ten years realized that it was time to part and move on in a different way. This also applies to you, by the way.
DIE WELT: Nice. Well, if you watch your films after you split up with Dean Martin, like "The Crazy Professor" - was that an attempt to get rid of the trauma by taking on the role of Martin yourself?
Lewis: Oh no. It was in this film on one side: Lewis. And a bad, bad, mean bastard on the other side. It certainly wasn't Dean Martin. This theory was once launched by a journalist and since then it has been repeated by unoriginal and unimaginative journalists.
DIE WELT: Maybe we'll change the subject. At the award ceremony for the Golden Camera, you will be making a special contribution on a German stage for the first time in a long time ...
Lewis: The last time I went on a concert tour in Germany was twenty years ago. I've been to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Bremen, Mannheim. Great warm-hearted crowd.
DIE WELT: Can you tell them what to expect from the Golden Camera?
Lewis: Turn on the TV!
The interview was conducted by Josef Engels
The ZDF will broadcast the gala for the award of the Golden Camera live today from 8.15 p.m., moderated by Thomas Gottschalk.
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