Dean and Me by Jerry Lewis
(A Love Story)

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This is a wild, joyous book, but also a heartbreaking one. In some ways, friendships between men can be more fragile than those between women, something Lewis grasps intuitively.
-NY Times

Synopsis

They were the unlikeliest of pairs—a handsome crooner and a skinny monkey, an Italian from Steubenville, Ohio, and a Jew from Newark, N.J.. Before they teamed up, Dean Martin seemed destined for a mediocre career as a nightclub singer, and Jerry Lewis was dressing up as Carmen Miranda and miming records on stage. But the moment they got together, something clicked—something miraculous—and audiences saw it at once.
Before long, they were as big as Elvis or the Beatles would be after them, creating hysteria wherever they went and grabbing an unprecedented hold over every entertainment outlet of the era: radio, television, movies, stage shows, and nightclubs. Martin and Lewis were a national craze, an American institution. The millions (and the women) flowed in, seemingly without end—and then, on July 24, 1956, ten years from the day when the two men joined forces, it all ended.
After that traumatic day, the two wouldn’t speak again for twenty years. And while both went on to forge triumphant individual careers—Martin as a movie and television star, recording artist, and nightclub luminary (and charter member of the Rat Pack); Lewis as the groundbreaking writer, producer, director, and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies—their parting left a hole in the national psyche, as well as in each man’s heart.
In a memoir by turns moving, tragic, and hilarious, Jerry Lewis recounts with crystal clarity every step of a fifty-year friendship, from the springtime, 1945 afternoon when the two vibrant young performers destined to conquer the world together met on Broadway and Fifty-fourth Street, to their tragic final encounter in the 1990s, when Lewis and his wife ran into Dean Martin, a broken and haunted old man.
In Dean & Me, Jerry Lewis makes a convincing case for Dean Martin as one of the great—and most underrated—comic talents of our era. But what comes across most powerfully in this definitive memoir is the depth of love Lewis felt, and still feels, for his partner, and which his partner felt for him: truly a love to last for all time.
 

About Jerry Lewis

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JERRY LEWIS and Dean Martin sandwiched sixteen money-making films in between nightclub engagements, recording sessions, radio shows, and television bookings during their ten-year partnership. Over the following years Lewis remained in the spotlight as the groundbreaking creator and star of a series of hugely successful movie comedies, and scored triumphs in stage appearances in Europe, where he has been hailed as one of the greatest director-comedians of the twentieth century. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and has received numerous other honors for his tireless efforts in the fight against the fourty neuromuscular diseases. JAMES KAPLAN has written novels, essays, and reviews, as well as over a hundred major profiles for many magazines, including The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, and New York. In 2002 Kaplan coauthored the autobiography of John McEnroe, You Cannot Be Serious, which was an international bestseller (and #1 on the New York Times list). He lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife and three sons.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Three Rivers Press. 352 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 06 2015
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Critic reviews for Dean and Me
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Zacharek on Nov 06 2005

This is a wild, joyous book, but also a heartbreaking one. In some ways, friendships between men can be more fragile than those between women, something Lewis grasps intuitively.

Read Full Review of Dean and Me: (A Love Story) | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Shawn Levy on Oct 20 2005

It's a great story, a showbiz epic of brothers who find and then lose one another. And in its heroic dimension it stands in stark contrast to the actual record Dean and Jerry leave behind - even the best of their film work is formulaic and lazy, and their TV appearances only hint at the brilliance...

Read Full Review of Dean and Me: (A Love Story) | See more reviews from Guardian

PopMatters

Above average
Reviewed by BILL GIBRON on Oct 04 2005

Dean and Me is a wonderfully engaging read. But his history with Martin guarantees his lasting presence in the pop culture archives. They were the best there ever was. Lewis just wanted to make sure you didn’t forget his partner when it’s time to divvy up the praise.

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