End Credits #71: Cinema's 2017 Lost Treasures Jerry Lewis, Glen Campbell
These are some of Cinema's sad departures of 2017 taken from my personal notes soon after the events took place:
"I was nine all of my life. Nine is innocent. Nine has a tremendous sense of humor and nine sees everything." Jerry Lewis who passed away at the age of 91, became a master of physical humour, perhaps like he said, embodying a nine year old, but one who was outrageously dense, full of energy, and constantly prone to extreme mischief and goofy antics. This was his on-screen persona in films with Dean Martin (originally his nightclub partner forming the famed comedy duo of Martin and Lewis) such as My Friend Irma (his film debut in 1949), The Stooge (1951, Jerry's personal favourite of those with Dean), The Caddy (1953), Pardners (1956), and Hollywood or Bust (1956, the pair's last film together). When the extremely successful comedic duo separated, Lewis continued portraying his inept, child-like characters starring in The Delicate Delinquent (1957), The Bellboy (1960, his first as director and one of his most accomplished), Cinderfella (also 1960, directed by Frank Tashlin), The Nutty Professor (1963, co-written and directed by Lewis as a wild comedic take-off of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), Who's Minding the Store (also 1963, with writer/director Tashlin again), The Disorderly Orderly (1964, a personal madcap favourite when I was young), and The Family Jewels (1965, directed and co-written by Lewis playing six different characters), amongst others. In 1982, Lewis brilliantly portrayed a very different kind of persona, personal, private, authoritative and serious, one very much like himself when he wasn't on stage or in front of a microphone or camera, that of TV talk-show host Jerry Langford in Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy. He had other serious roles later in his illustrious career including the title role in Max Rose (2013) and as the title character's father in his last film appearance, 2016's The Trust. Lewis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his 50 years raising money to fight muscular dystrophy. He was the first filmmaker to develop and use the "video-assist" device on location, and taught a film class at the University of California (Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were students of his). He was a hugely successful comedian, actor, singer, film producer, screenwriter, director, and educator, well known and admired the world over for his work in film, television, stage and radio. Our sincerest condolences to his family and friends. Jerry Lewis (March 16, 1926 - August 20, 2017) R.I.P.
I've included a most illuminating interview with Jerry, professionally and admirably conducted by Raymond Arroyo from 2015:
He may not have been the world's best actor, (and famously said "I'd never acted in a movie before, and every time I see True Grit (1969) I think my record's still clean!") but as a recording artist, performer and guitarist, he was at the very pinnacle of his vocation. Glen Campbell has passed away at the age of 81, due to complications of Alzheimer's. For those who saw him perform in concert, on various television shows and specials, his guest appearances on talk shows or impromptu gatherings, Glen Campbell's gregarious personality always shined through, making his loss particularly hard to take. He was one of the top studio guitarists before gaining recognition on his own and accompanied many of the biggest recording artists of all time including Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Nat 'King' Cole, Judy Garland, and Dean Martin. Later, he became a phenomenally successful singer and TV personality of the late 1960s and 1970s. His many hits included "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Hey, Little One," "Galveston," "Honey, Come Back," "Try a Little Kindness," and "Rhinestone Cowboy." He played guitar on the soundtrack of the Elvis Presley starrer Viva Las Vegas (1964) and can be spotted as a band member with Steve McQueen in Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965). A guest appearance on The F.B.I. TV series and a part in the motion picture The Cool Ones (both 1967) followed before landing the coveted role of La Boeuf opposite John Wayne and Kim Darby in the western True Grit (1969) for which Campbell also sang the title tune, a gorgeous song composed by Elmer (The Magnificent Seven) Bernstein with lyrics by Don Black. Interestingly enough, Campbell starred in the following year's Norwood, like True Grit, adapted from a Charles Portis novel, also co-starring Kim Darby, and once again sang the title song. A few TV movie appearances came afterward and Campbell performed the character of Chanticleer in the animated movie Rock-A-Doodle (1991), but will be forever remembered for his warm-hearted personality infused into his many classic songs and performances. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Glen Campbell (April 22, 1936 - August 8, 2017) R.I.P.
I've included this short video with Glen from 2011 discussing his role in True Grit: