A beloved actor, comedian, and singer, Jerry Lewis—who celebrates his 91st birthday on March 16th—didn't always find a fan in his professional partner Dean Martin. Here, we revisit the dirty details of their partnership and other co-stars who struggled to stay civil.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
"You're nothing to me but a f****** dollar sign," Dean Martin told Jerry Lewis before America's hottest comedy act split in 1956. They seldom spoke to each other after that. A rare exception: In 1976, Frank Sinatra brought out Martin as a surprise guest on the Jerry Lewis Telethon. The duo finally buried the hatchet in 1987, after Lewis discreetly attended the funeral of Martin's son Dean Paul, who died in a plane crash.
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The Everly Brothers
They were celebrated for their vocal harmony, but Don and Phil Everly were discordant in just about everything else. The '50s rock duo—Simon and Garfunkel's biggest influence—ultimately took their quarrels public. At a 1973 concert, Don announced on stage, "I'm through being an Everly brother." As Phil put it, a few years before that, "We only ever had one argument. It's been lasting for 25 years."
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Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Friction between the iconic dance partners began with a dress: Ginger Rogers insisted on wearing it; Fred Astaire wound up covered with feathers. But the gentlemanly Astaire never spoke harshly. "Oh Ginger! She always wanted to be boss," was all he told his biographer. When the author asked Rogers about the Astaire-Rogers magic, she eyed him coldly and said, "You mean Rogers-Astaire."
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Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis
In a 2005 interview for the"Moonlighting" DVD box set, Cybill Shepherd recalled that she and Bruce Willis "would fight before every fight scene" when they were filming the innovative 1980s detective series. Not that she held a grudge. "He's more attractive now without hair," Shepherd said of her costar. "Of course, Yul Brenner was my first sexual fantasy."
John Lennon and Paul McCartney
"Those freaks was right when they said you was dead," John Lennon sings in "How Do You Sleep?" And that's not even the nastiest line in this track from his 1971 solo album, "Imagine." The record came out just a year after the Beatles' breakup—Lennon and Paul McCartney eventually patched things up—but the allusion to McCartney is obvious in the double entendre: "The only thing you done was yesterday."
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
Although they played lovers, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey were like oil and water on the set of 1987's "Dirty Dancing." In his autobiography, Swayze remembered Grey "bursting into tears if someone criticized her" or becoming giddy, "forcing us to do scenes over and over." But Grey's grief was plainly genuine after Swayze's death in 2009, when she paid tribute to him on "Dancing With the Stars."
Sam & Dave
One of the most popular R&B duos of the '60s—with No.1 hits like "Soul Man" and "Hold On! I'm Comin'"—Sam Moore and Dave Prater wouldn't speak to each other for many years. According to Rolling Stone, the long-standing silent treatment stemmed from Moore having "lost respect" for his singing partner in 1968, when Prater shot and wounded his own wife. Moore's drug addiction didn't help.
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C-3PO and R2-D2
Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in the "Star Wars" series, called Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO, "the rudest man I've ever met." Baker, who stood 3 feet 8 inches, said he asked Daniels several times to join him in making some potentially lucrative personal appearances. Daniels' reply, according to Baker: "Go away, little man."
Photo: 20th Century Fox
Vivian Vance and William Frawley
"No one will believe I'm married to that old coot," Vivian Vance reportedly told Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz before "I Love Lucy" debuted in 1951. As it turned out, she and William Frawley had great chemistry as Fred and Ethel Mertz. But the gruff Frawley never called Vance "honeybunch" off camera, and when Arnaz proposed a spin-off series called "The Mertzes," Vance refused ever to work with Frawley again.
Abbott and Costello
Back in 1945, Lou Costello (the chubby one) publicly accused Bud Abbott of being a drunk. Abbott threatened to beat up Costello, who subsequently quit speaking with his partner when they weren't performing. Yet they remained a team until 1957, when Abbott retired from comedy to raise horses.
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