Hollywood Deals with Lemmon's Death

06/29/2001 01:00PM

The Movie World on Thursday was trying to recover from the news of Jack Lemmon's death on Wednesday night. The beloved star of "Some Like It Hot," "The Apartment," "Save the Tiger" and "The China Syndrome," 76, succumbed to cancer in a Los Angeles hospital after a lengthy and quiet battle against the disease. Thursday morning, reports Variety, Tony Curtis, 76, Lemmon's costar in 1959's "Some Like It Hot" (possibly the greatest men-in-drag comedy of all time), stopped by the Westwood apartment of the film's legendary writer-director, Billy Wilder. Asked which of Lemmon's nearly 60 films -- 10 of them, including "The Odd Couple," "Grumpy Old Men" and Wilder's "The Fortune Cookie," costarring the late Walter Matthau -- was his personal favorite, Wilder, 95, told columnist Army Archerd, "Every one of them." Said longtime Lemmon friend Gregory Peck, 85 (who considered Lemmon "an American Olivier"), "We've lost a great man" -- and a "hit or miss" poker player who joined the game strictly for the camaraderie. And Shirley MacLaine, 67, who costarred with Lemmon in Wilder's big Oscar winner, "The Apartment" (1960), and his greatest box office success, "Irma La Douce" (1962), said, "I can't believe he's gone -- but to me, he isn't."

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