66 years ago, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis split on a professional and relationship level, exactly 10 years after their collaboration. The duo had already broken up after 16 films together, as the singer believed the goofball comedy was controlling their work, leaving the latter feeling betrayed.
Martin had a more relaxed approach to work, while Lewis was a workaholic and some saw him doing their job.
The singer had grown tired of their movie scripts at Paramount Pictures, confining him to what he felt were colorless threads in stories opposite to his partner’s quirky comedy.
The last straw was when he was clipped from a cover shot of both for Look magazine, and Lewis was left alone.
However, they stuck to their film contract but got into harrowing discussions, with Martin once telling Lewis, “You’re nothing to me but a dollar sign.”
Their 16th and final movie together, Hollywood or Bust, will be released after their split around Christmas 1956.
In his autobiography Dean and Me, Lewis said how the couple did not talk to each other off-camera throughout filming, and also admitted that it was the only one of his films he didn’t watch because it was so painful. Watch.
The duo then gave a farewell performance at the Copacabana Club on July 25, 1956, exactly a decade from the day after their debut.
Lewis claimed that they had not spoken to each other in private for 20 years after that, later commenting, “The stupidity of that, I can’t explain. Ignorance of this is something I hope I will always forget.”
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During this period, when both experienced spikes in their careers, they met in public several times, but it was never a personal, behind-the-scenes reconciliation.
In 1960, they were both performing separate acts at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Lewis went to see Martin’s closing act and the singer introduced him to the audience, bringing him on stage.
They joked about 15 minutes before singing the duet Come Back to Me, but the singer didn’t do it for the comedian in return.
Although, later that year, Lewis was too tired to perform on stage after filming The Bellboy, so Martin replaced him.
Two years later, in 1989, Martin and Louis met for the last time at the singer’s 72nd birthday party, which was held in Bali in Las Vegas, where he gave a week of performances.
The golf ball comedian gave his old friend a birthday cake and thanked him for the years of joy he gave the world, eventually joking: “Why we broke up, I’ll never know!”
Martin died six years later on Christmas Day 1995, and Lewis wrote a sweet memoir of their time together in 2005 titled Dean & Me: A Love Story before his death in 2017.