Birmingham Stage Company

Jack Lemmon

11 January 2009

Richard Dreyfuss' performance in COMPLICIT reminded me of Jack Lemmon in VETERAN'S DAY in 1989. Another extraordinary performance by an actor who was very much having to fill the void left by a weak play. I have rarely seen an actor working so hard in all my life! It was brilliant and humbling. I was lucky enough to interview Mr Lemmon six weeks later to help capitalise the BSC and since both he and now recently Harold Pinter have died, I can finally tell the story he told me that morning.

The play had been slated by the critics but, much to his enormous credit, Lemmon was supremely loyal to the show - declaring publicily how much he liked the script. However, before we went on stage he told me a different story: in truth he hadn't been at all sure about the script when he was first sent it, but Harold Pinter had called him to say how good he thought the play was and he successfully encouraged JL to take the role. Jack Lemmon's advice to me that morning was simple: he told me with a wry smile - "Never take advice about a play from Harold Pinter!"

Back to Blog