Here’s Why Legendary Comedy Duo Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Split Up

by Joe Rutland
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At one time, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made millions of dollars as a comedy team in the entertainment world. Then they split up. Why?

Both would go on and reach acclaim in different ways. Dean Martin would become a prized member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack along with Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and many others. Lewis brought his distinct brand of humor to movies like The Nutty Professor and The Bellboy.

But why did they split up in the midst of being so successful? Let’s look at an article from the tabloid The Sun for details.

Dean Martin Had Different Work Ethic From Jerry Lewis, Enjoyed His Time Off

Reportedly, there was a feud between Dean Martin and Lewis. One other factor might have been that both had different work ethics. Lewis was a workaholic who would spend hours on scripts and jokes; Martin was more laid-back and enjoyed his time off.

Then a lot of people saw their comedy tandem as simply being one-sided. The one side that did all the heavy lifting? Lewis, who would famously do pratfalls and humorous voices.

Martin and Lewis debuted as a team in 1946, went on to appear in 16 raucous, successful films, and split in 1956.

Fans would line up around the famed Paramount Theater in New York City simply to see the duo perform.

Martin, Lewis Reportedly Didn’t Speak To Each Other For 20 Years Until Sinatra Intervened

Neither one of them reportedly spoke to one another for 20 years. There’s some hearsay about whether that is true or not. But in 1976, their mutual friend Sinatra brought Martin out on a Las Vegas stage. He ended up seeing and chatting with Lewis in front of millions of TV viewers.

It was during Lewis’ lifetime commitment to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and on one of his famed Labor Day Telethons.

Dean Martin died from acute respiratory failure on Christmas Day 1995. Jerry Lewis did show up for Martin’s funeral and, reportedly, both men spoke off and on for years after the MDA Telethon appearance.

Lewis died at his Las Vegas home in 2017.

Here’s a little bit more about Dean Martin, who didn’t get his signature song, Everybody Loves Somebody, until after his pianist Ken Lane wrote it.

After his split with Lewis, in 1958 Martin starred in the movies The Young Lions and Some Came Running. Then he co-starred with John Wayne and Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo in 1959. Oh yeah, there’s that 1960 film Ocean’s 11 that Martin starred in alongside Sinatra, Davis, Norman Fell, Peter Lawford, and a cast of many others.

Television became Martin’s strong suit when he started hosting The Dean Martin Show on NBC in the mid-1960s.

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