From Publishers Weekly
Over the course of their 10-year partnership, Lewis and Dean Martin made 16 wildly popular movies (they were the world's number one box office earners from 1950 to 1956), but their real strength was their performances in nightclubs, theaters and on television. Audiences found their mixture of music and ad-libbed, irreverent comedic pandemonium intoxicating. The duo's fascinating kinship—Lewis idolized his partner, while Martin was aloof—has been chronicled in Shawn Levy's King of Comedy
and Nick Tosches's Dino
, but Lewis wants to give his late partner the credit he feels critics missed by always praising the "the monkey" rather than the straight man. Untangling the complicated union, Lewis doesn't spare himself, admitting that when the team's relationship unraveled (they weren't speaking between scenes on their last film), he became a bully on set and made others the brunt of the anger he couldn't vent at Martin. Lewis is a wonderful raconteur, and his tales capture the excitement of their budding career and the slow, sad erosion of the fun. Whether it's his age (Lewis is 79) or his coauthor (Kaplan co-wrote John McEnroe's You Cannot Be Serious
), fans will be surprised and entertained by Lewis's honesty and diminished ego and bitterness. Photos. First serial to
Vanity Fair. (On sale Oct. 25)
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Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis soared to popularity in post-World War II America, as their unlikely chemistry proved successful. The two met in New York City in 1945, where Lewis, a struggling comedian, and Martin, a handsome crooner, were looking to hit the big time. This candid memoir examines the tumultuous yet productive relationship that developed between the two as they spent 10 years performing live shows and making movies. As Lewis tells it, in the early years of the duo's success, they began hanging out with movie stars and other celebrities, and life was one continuous party, with loads of money and all the booze, babes, and good times that either could ask for. But despite attempts to manage their egos and to handle the other pressures that come from living a fast life, eventually the magic began to fade and the two finally called it quits in 1956. After parting ways, both achieved great solo success: Martin becoming a member of the famous Rat Pack and Lewis a successful writer, producer, and director. Although they never really worked together again, Lewis maintains that he never stopped loving Dean Martin, and indeed this book is an adoring tribute to the man. (It may leave some readers wondering what Dean's side of the story would be.) Kathleen HughesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved