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Jack Lemmon as Supporting Roles: 3 Times Star Shined Without Being Lead Actor

Image: Jack Lemmon as Supporting Roles: 3 Times Star Shined Without Being Lead Actor
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By    |   Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 04:14 PM

When he passed away in 2001, Jack Lemmon’s roles totaled more than 100 across all genres, and he’d acted alongside hundreds of well-known actors.

Kevin Spacey has repeatedly named Lemmon as one of the biggest influences of his acting career and even went so far as to dedicate his Academy Award to Lemmon when he won for his role in “American Beauty.”

Spacey said of Lemmon’s impact, in his speech, “First, I have to say that I would like to dedicate this to the man who inspired my performance. A man who has been my friend and my mentor, and since my father died, a little bit like my father, whose performance in ‘The Apartment’ stands as one of the finest we’ve ever had. Jack Lemmon, wherever you are, thank you, thank you, thank you.” 

The two met at an acting workshop when Spacey was 13 years old, and they worked together on several projects including Broadway’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

Vote Now: Who Is Your Favorite Actor of All Time?

Lemmon’s personal manager and friend, David Seltzer, discussed Lemmon’s career choices with CNN’s Larry King during “Remember Jack Lemmon.” King noted in their conversation, “He didn’t take many small roles, did he?” to which Selzter replied, “He didn’t. No. He sometimes did it as a favor to a friend, though. He would sometimes do it. He did a lot of favors for people.”

Although they were few and far between, we’ve rounded up a few of Lemmon’s most notable supporting roles below.

Here are three roles in which Lemmon wasn’t the leading man, but shined in his work:

1. “Mister Roberts" (1956)

This iconic role put Lemmon on the map as a renowned actor early in his career. After making his silver screen debut just two years previously, Lemmon was the comedic highlight of the film in his role as Ensign Frank Pulver.

According to The New York Times, “Most of the laughs are provided by Pulver, officer ‘in charge of laundry and morale.’” He won his first Oscar for this supporting role.

2. "JFK" (1991)

In Oliver Stone's Kennedy assasination conspiracy opus, Lemmon's performance was one of many star cameos. Lemmon took on a cajun drawl to play informant Jack Martin to lead actor Kevin Costner's New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison.

Keith Edwards of Films in Review wrote of the movie's stunt casting: "My personal favorite was Jack Lemmon, calling to mind what Red Buttons might have done with 'The Iceman Cometh.'"

3. "Short Cuts" (1993)

This huge ensemble cast includes many notable actors including Julianne Moore, Robert Downey Jr., and Tim Robbins portraying the day-to-day lives of residents living in suburban Los Angeles. Their efforts earned them the Golden Globe for “Best Ensemble Cast.”

Vote Now: Which of These Actors Stands the Test of Time?

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When he passed away in 2001, Jack Lemmon’s roles totaled more than 100 across all genres, and he’d acted alongside hundreds of well-known actors. Although they were few and far between, we’ve rounded up three roles in which Lemmon wasn’t the leading man, but shined in his work.
jack lemmon, roles, star, shined, supporting
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Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 04:14 PM
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