I suppose of all the people in the room tonight, I’m the one who’s closest to Jack Lemmon.
As I was looking over his list of films I realised how different that list would read it wasn’t forme.
The year was 1959, I was dining alone at Chasen's, and I looked over and I saw Billy Wilder, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis coming toward me.
And I thought, oh god, not these guys again.
So I made a little small talk, and I said, ‘Jack, what are you working on, what are you doing?’
And he said, “I got a thing coming up with Lee Remick. I’m very excited.’
And I said, ‘What’s it called?’
And he said, ‘"The Days of Wine and Roses and Tapioca Pudding"’ .
And I said, ‘What's the title?’
And he said, '"The Days of Wine and Roses and Tapioca Pudding" ... It’s about a couple of people, they get sloshed every night, they make tapioca pudding, they go nuts, and when the new mixes come out, they can’t decide whether to go with the mix, or make it fresh ... it’s very exciting.’
And I said, ‘you know just off the top of my head, I would say, lose the tapioca pudding.’
And he said, ‘Steve you can’t have a movie called "The Days of Wine and Roses and Tapioca Pudding" and then have the audience come in, and then there’s nothing about tapioca pudding.’
And I said, ‘This is my point. You should drop it from the title too.'
And he said, ‘You mean call it ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’?' He said, ‘It doesn’t scan Steve, it’s just not right [testing it] ‘The Days of Wine and Roses ... And you’ve got to have the tapioca pudding in there!'
I said, ‘well just think about it’ and I look over and Billy’s going, [interested nod] like this.
So I say, ‘what are you working on now?’ and he said ‘we got a great thing, we’re just producing. Tony and Jack and Billy and I are just producing this thing. We’re looking for two funny actresses, we wondered if you had any ideas? It’s about two musicians who get stuck, and have to hide out in an all-girl orchestra. And if you have any ideas, we’re thinking Lucy, we’re thinking Shirley, and we think it’s gonna be a great thing.’
And they left.
And as I watched Jack walk away, something occurred to me that may have changed his life forever. And I called Billy the next day and I ran it by him and he liked it.
As he was walking away, I realised ... Jack Lemmon has a great ass.