Dean and Me – A Love Story by Jerry Lewis and James Kaplan

Find in catalogThe unlikely pair of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis teamed up in 1946. The world had never seen the likes of this handsome crooner and hyperactive comic, and they soon became mega stars in night clubs, radio, TV, and movies. They spent 10 years working together, then broke up as the pressures of stardom eroded their partnership. Both men went on to have very successful solo careers but there was always sadness at the loss of their friendship. This is a fascinating look at the world of entertainment in post war America.

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Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin

Mr. Martin says, “I was not naturally talented–I didn’t sing, dance, or act–though working around that minor detail made me inventive.”  He writes thoughtfully and honestly about the development of his particular style of wackiness, and his fascinating rise from having audiences of 8 or 12 at Knotts Berry Farm to over 45,000 at the end of his time in stand-up comedy. I do not call it ‘the height’ of his career because at the end, he felt his creative soul juices drying up, and for those of us in his generation, it’s hard to believe he has been gone from stand-up for 25 years.  Today he is author of nonfiction, plays, screenplays, novels, and of course is a banjo musician since his childhood.  Behind- the-scenes accounts of people, place, and time especially in the 60s and 70s are entwined with his search for love, both familial and soul-partner types, are moving, though he simply describes the highs and lows and keeps his emoting to himself. I respect and admire him more than ever now.

Reviewed by Laura