Dean & Me
Jerry Lewis
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Buy *Dean & Me: A Love Story* online

Dean & Me: A Love Story

Jerry Lewis
352 pages
October 2005
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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In 1956, I wasn’t even close to being a gleam in my father’s eye. No, it would be a little less than two decades later that I would come to be. So I wasn’t around during the heydays of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. I guess, like most people my age, our first recollections of Jerry Lewis are from his telethons and the movie he did in ‘83 called The King Of Comedy, in which he played disgruntled TV host Jerry Langston - a movie that was way ahead of its time on the obsessive nature of celebrity culture and showed a more serious and skillful acting performance by Lewis compared to the energetic, manic comedic explosions he was known for earlier in his career. King also features a tremendous performance by Robert De Niro, and his character was also off-type as he portrayed the lonely loser Rupert Pupkin.

As for Dean Martin, I can only barely remember some appearances on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show and old clips of him singing with drink in hand. That glass was so prominent, to this day when I drink from a glass like it, I fondly refer to it as a “Dean Martin” glass. So it’s with this limited knowledge that I cracked open this book and started to read.

Dean & Me: A Love Story is written by Jerry Lewis with co-writer James Kaplan. But all of Jerry’s voice comes through in the narrative. It sucks you right in from the start and never bogs down over its three hundred and twenty-six page journey. The flow of the prose is very conversational as Jerry talks of his initial struggles, the times, and how he met Dean Martin for the first time:

“Suddenly, at Broadway and Fifty fourth, Sonny spotted someone across the street: a tall, dark, and incredibly handsome man in a camels hair coat. His name Sonny said was Dean Martin. Just looking at him intimidated me: How does anybody get that handsome? I smiled at the sight of him in that camel’s-hair coat. Harry Horseshit, I thought. That was what we used to call a guy who thought he was smooth with the ladies. Anybody who wore a camel’s-hair overcoat, with a camel’s hair belt and fake diamond cuff links, was automatically Harry Horseshit. But this guy I knew was the real deal.”
Everything is covered from Jerry’s personal triumphs, illnesses, and failures to Dean’s tragic loss of his son and of course, in vivid detail, those wonderful years Dean and Jerry worked together on stage and on screen. And it also details the erosion of that special relationship, all written without ego, though when one party has passed on, its only one side of the story. Still an amazing and fantastic look at a special time and special people.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2005

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