on 15 January 2007
Having just finished the book I was forced to admit to myself that for as many years as I care to remember, I had totally misread the dynamic between the two men responsible for one of the most amazing partnerships in showbiz history,
I was always under the impression that it was a pretty lopsided setup and especially toward the end, with the focus being strongly towards Jerry at the detriment of Dean,
Now having read Jerry's book I've been forced to reassess my thinking, clearly many tangible issues were present between these complex individuals, both having clear idea's on how to proceed but with one ultimately deciding that a break up was the only option available where both could continue,
Though it would never have been acknowledged at the time, the break-up clearly had a far greater effect on Jerry than would be expected, the general consensus being that Jerry would go on to major solo success whereas Dean would languish by the wayside and though this seemed likely initially,in the long run Dean would eclipse his ex partner with a string of movie, TV and record successes, not to say that Jerry vanished without trace but in comparison it was obvious who had the greater impact with the public,
In view of this it could be expected that this book would be filled with bitterness and bile, bear in mind that there is no Dean Martin around to actually dispute the issue and so Jerry had carte blanche to write as he pleased, that said what you get is a book clearly written from the heart from a man showing regrets for what happened in the past and what could have been in the future, occasionally the hurt does show and the recriminations manifest themselves in print but even so what comes through is the loss of what could have been,
There can be NO arguement in the final assessment that what is apparent is that there was a bond of affection that could never be broken, an estangement of years followed the teams split and certainly a lot of bad blood was felt, Dean often remaked that his career never had any meaning until his split with Jerry and it was the best thing that could have happened, a contant dig during Dean's live show was at Jerry's expense but this could be dismissed as an audience in joke that always drew a laugh, it would have zero personal significance to Dean himself, who, in public at least, always kept his own counsel,
A public appearance masterminded by Frank Sinatra would reunite the men on stage but a tragedy in Dean's life with the loss of his son would would finally draw the two men together on a personal level and though they would never be as close as previously the animosity was finally erased,
These events and many more covering several decades form the core of this book, an absorbing read that has you quickly turning the pages to find out more, I picked this up with the view to reading a few chapters, then reading the entire book, very well recommended, for Jerry, Dean or simply fans of the showbiz years gone by.
The conversations between Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis always began the same:
"Hey Paul, how you doin'"
"How you doin', polly?"
You still don't remember my f****** name?"
The simple fact that these two men started their conversations with silly nicknames says it all about their love for each other.
On Tuesday, July 25, 1956, ten years to the day after their first appearance together at Skinny D'Amato's club in Atlantic City, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis played their last show together at the Copacabana in New York City. This day forever resounded in the mind of Jerry Lewis, who, along with James Kaplan wrote this book. This is a well written and entertaining read. No excuses are given by Jerry Lewis for the break-up or the mistakes that ensured that these two men would not be able to play together for long term. It is an honest portrayal of two men who, well, really loved each other. Remember the song, "When the moon hits your eye like a bigga' pizza pie, that's Amore?" Essentially, that is what these two men, who worked professionally for ten years, learned and loved about each other. There was the monkey, Jerry Lewis and the suave, romantic, handsome singer, Dean Martin. How these two men, who really had nothing in common came together and made the best comedy team of the century is a story in itself.
Jerry Lewis was a comic, and he met Dean Martin, a crooner on a street curb in New York City. Their managers knew each other and they were introduced. At the time they were playing at the same small club. Jerry Lewis played a trick on Dean as he started his singing act, and Dean gave him that slow take and was grinning, and that was the beginning of the team. They made it big, they made lots of money, and they spent a lot of it. They both had women, Dean many, and Jerry , his wife, Patti. Life was great, but then as time moved along, things began to falter. Professional jealousy from both of them, and like a marriage, it all came apart. Their mutual split, on that fateful night in 1956, led them their separate ways. Both of them successful in their private careers, but their relationship was gone. Jerry had problems with drugs and his marriage that he tried to overcome. It was not until 1976, while Jerry Lewis was hosting the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon that Frank Sinatra brought them back together. This made big news, I remember watching the telethon that night and seeing for myself the surprise and pleasure on each of their faces. However, their relationship didn't patch itself. They would meet every so often in a restaurant. Jerry would call Dean frequently and then intermittently. Jerry realized that Dean really wanted to remain alone. And, then, Dean died, and Jerry attended the funeral, and he spoke:
"You are so lucky that you knew my partner and my friend. I will not fall into that drone of pain about death, but I will ask you to all just yell `Yeah" that he lived...that he was with us for all that time. `Yeah!' `Yeah!' And that , my friends, is my celebration of his life. Long may he drink!"
A heartfelt book, from a man who loved his friend. I don't think Jerry Lewis ever got over the break-up with his friend, Dean Martin. A loving tribute. Recommended. prisrob
I grew up watching and loving the Martin and Lewis movies, so reading Jerry's account of their ten years together brought back a lot of good memories. From their first chance meeting, Jerry was in awe of the charming Dean, and spent years trying to impress him and feel equal to him. After hectic early years playing night clubs, the duo found huge success in Hollywood, but mutual jealousy and the basic differences in their personalities eventually led to a bitter break-up. Years later, distance and maturity made a reconciliation possible for both.
Jerry speaks of his undying admiration for his partner's showbiz talents and unflappable coolness, yet sadly describes Dean as a man incapable of deep, intimate friendship who was ultimately quite sad and lonely. This is a quick read and a touching tribute to the man Jerry always wished was his big brother.
This book was bought for me as a Christmas present and immediately caught my attention. I have heard a few stories over the years about what a difficult man Jerry Lewis could be to work with so this book surpised me with it's honesty. While you can never be 100% sure that a book of this type tells you the whole truth, Jerry Lewis admits that he has been a pain in the butt at times and also an extremely difficult and awkward performer. So it was with genuine surprise that he constantly talks about his old partner with so much love and respect.
Dean Martin was his partner for ten years until their very public split. At no time does Jerry Lewis completely blame his partner for the split even though they were probably as much to blame as each other. Lewis praises Martin with obvious feeling and the utmost respect and it is with warmth and no soft soaping. He raves about Martin's abilities and states several occassions when other artists commented how great he truly was. Yes,there are times when Lewis goes on about how massive a team they were and how lucky we were to have them, but I guess they really were huge back in the 1940s and 50s.
It must be said that this story is not without sadness. You reel from the blow when Lewis told Martin about the love they had and how it would be a shame to throw it away. When Martin replied that all Lewis was to him was a dollar sign, you can feel the hurt that Lewis still feels to this day. It is also very touching when he discusses the death of Dean Martin's beloved son and how Lewis crept into the back of the church during the funeral so as not to impose on his former partners grief. This part of the book was very well told and seemed totally genuine.
This is a very good read. The narrative does jump about at times and you are only hearing one side of the story. But Jerry Lewis paints a loving portrait of his partner and you feel that he wants the world to know just what he really thought of him. Recommended.
on 14 November 2011
I have always loved Jerry Lewis' films but recently became very interested in Dean Martin which prompted me to purchase this book. I found this book a very interesting read, not to mention that it was well written and spoken from the heart. Jerry Lewis had a lot of love and respect for Dean Martin which I really felt at times. However, his own massive ego and jealousies, which is acknowledged, ultimately led to their break-up. On the negative side, I was very astonished to read (stated very definitely by Jerry Lewis) that Dean Martin had an appalling family background with terrible parents and relatives, etc (even murder running in the family?!) I have read Deana's book (Memories are Made of This) and Ricci's (That's Amore) book and they speak very lovingly of their grandparents who lived with them and often baked "Italian feasts". Even Michael Freedland's book says that Dean Martin supported and loved his parents, paying for all their medical bills when they became ill and that they were very proud of him. Apart from that, and no doubt a few embellishments of events on Jerry Lewis' part, this is a fascinating read!
on 23 November 2013
This book shows the Martin and Lewis relationship from the side not usually focused on, that of Jerry Lewis. It is obviously biased towards his point of view, as would be expected, but gives some interesting new information on one of the most successful comedy partnerships ever. As a lifelong fan of Dean Martin, though not of Jerry Lewis, I found the book fascinating.
on 23 December 2015
James Kaplan does a very good job in co-writing this memoir from Jerry Lewis's perspective of the professional and personal relationship between himself and Dean Martin, his partner for ten years. In reading Dean & Me, Kaplan made me feel that I was sitting alongside Jerry Lewis listening to him speak of how much he cared for Dean Martin -- even during the many years they were no longer partners.
In this memoir Lewis always speaks about Martin with great affection during their partnership; even though he felt Martin was very aloof and insecure personally, and didn't perceive him to be his equal in terms of doing whatever necessary to make the team better and, more importantly, more successful. And so, while Louis doesn't directly comes out in the book saying that he was the primary reason for the team's success, I often felt that he was saying this "between the lines." Put another way, I, for the most part, felt that while Louis spent much of this memoir singing praises about Dean Martin, he was -- without specifically saying it -- almost as often silently singing his own praises for being such a loyal and understanding partner and the "real brains" of the team. As a consequence, upon finishing Dean & Me I felt the need to find a book in which Dean Martin tells his version of what his partnership years with Jerry Lewis were like, as well as his perspective on his life and career during the post Martin & Louis years, when he went on to become an even bigger solo success.
If you were ever a fan of Martin & Louis, I think you will find Dean & Me to be an entertaining, informative and insightful look into the relationship of these two men, who, during their ten years together, were among the biggest entertainers in show business. And I think you'll find co-author Kaplan's writing style to be easy to read and well-balanced.
on 24 May 2010
For any Martin and Lewis fan this book is a must. It gives a strong insight into the relationship between them and particularly the genuine love and affection in the partnership and lasting through their separation; and the obvious admiration Jerry had for Dean. Even for someone who had never heard of them it would still makeDean And Me: A Love Story a fascinating story, giving so many interesting and enlightening details about life in 'The Business', Hollywood, and the Mob. This story would itself make a great film except that no one could adequately play the two leading roles.
on 20 October 2015
a funny funny and sad insight into two of the big stars of the 20th century well, at least between 1946 to 1956 when they worked together, did everything together ! the rise, the titanic fame, the bromance (love affair) and the fall....falling out.
it seems that James Kaplan is writing while Jerry tells the story, very honestly it seems, it seems that way because the writing is interrupted often, thankfully, by Jerry with one liners and asides that are just perfectly funny and help hugely towards the sense of time and place, of capturing a moment in the golden years of showbusiness, that Kaplan is so brilliant at (see his book on Sinatra if you actually want to feel your living with Frank through some of the key moments in his rise to fame).
wonderfully warm and alive, it comes close, as only Jerry Lewis could, to seeing who the real Dean Martin was, a huge achievment as he was THE enigma of the Rat Pack and beyond.
Great read, and important lessons to all of us about deep friendship and its, perhaps inevitable, demise as our lives change.
on 28 June 2007
What a fun book - these guys are ultimate entertainers and when you read it you will see it really was a golden age of entertainment when they were working. Some of it might be a bit superficial and silly, but basically you get a real taste for that whole era - what great characters they all were.