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    C. C. Baxter 

Calvin Clifford "Buddy Boy" Baxter

Played By: Jack Lemmon

The protagonist of the story. A worker of the Consolidated Life insurance company, he lends the titular apartment to his superiors for their personal parties in order to rank positions in the company. He is also secretly in love with Fran Kubelik, one of the building's elevator ladies.


  • Adorkable: Baxter is friendly, loves playing card games and is a a bit awkward which often leads to funny situations.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Played with. He’s definitely jealous of Sheldrake after getting known that Fran is his mistress, but then tries to be as helpful as he can to keep her happy. Then again he gets antagonistic to his boss, when Sheldrake once again wants to use his apartment for the date with Fran, finally saying to him “no”.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tells Fran a story about the time he wanted to shoot himself because of unrequited love. Fortunately, it ended with only a wound.
  • Extreme Doormat: Is ready to tolerate being used by his associates to get a promotion no matter how ridiculously uncomfortable it gets.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: His neighbors, especially the Dreyfusses, think he holds wild parties in his apartment when it's actually his bosses who bring drinks, beautiful girls and put on loud music. In a somewhat hilarious way, he has a much worse reputation when Mrs. Dreyfuss thinks Fran almost committed suicide because of him instead of Mr. Sheldrake.
  • Nice Guy: Despite having an image of restless womanizer in the eyes of his neighbors and being ready to cover up the affairs of his co-workers, in reality Baxter is a friendly, timid and humble man, who just doesn’t know how to say “no” to his “friends”.

    Fran Kubelik 

Frances "Fran" Kubelik

Played By: Shirley MacLaine

An elevator operator at the Consolidated Life insurance company. She has a secret affair with Jeff Sheldrake, the building's staff director, that is trembling her feelings.


  • Break the Cutie: Fran is a very kind and cute woman on the outside, giving compliments to C. C. Baxter which drives him crazy. But she is in love with Sheldrake who is causing trouble to her personal life.
  • Broken Bird: Completely and utterly destroyed on the inside. Appropiately symbolized with her broken portable mirror.
    C. C. Baxter: The mirror... it's broken.
    Fran Kubelik: Yes, I know. I like it that way. Makes me look the way I feel.
  • Driven to Suicide: Fran took an overdose of Baxter's sleeping pills and fell unconscious on the verge of death. Luckily, Baxter and Dr. Dreyfuss saved her life in time.
  • Love Hurts: Fran is in love with Sheldrake, even though the man is only using her for his own pleasure.
  • Nice Girl: Putting the whole affair situation aside, Fran is a really kind-hearted and humble woman. Bad thing she has a thing for assholes.

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    J. D. Sheldrake 

Jeff D. Sheldrake

Played By: Fred MacMurray

The personnel director of the Consolidated Life insurance company building in New York. He is a married man that has a secret affair with Fran Kubelik, but he doesn't respond to her romantic feelings.


  • Affably Evil: He seems a comprehensive and cool guy, but only uses Baxter to employ his apartment for his own like the previous boses before him.
  • Asshole Victim: At the end, C. C. Baxter won't lend his apartment to him ever again for hurting Ms. Kubelik's feelings, he gets divorced when Miss Olsen tells her about her affair to be with Fran and she leaves him in New Year's Eve.
  • Bad Boss: In a manipulative way. He only wants Baxter's apartment for his own amusement. And even they are lovers, Sheldrake is still Fran's boss as well and he is hurting her feelings.
  • Big Bad: He is responsible for not responding to Fran's feelings, hurting her with fake promises and a very distant attitude.

    The Dreyfusses 

Dr. Dreyfuss & Mildred Dreyfuss

Played By: Jack Kruschen & Naomi Stevens

Baxter's elder neighbors. Mr. Dreyfuss is also a doctor.


  • Black Comedy Burst: Dr. Dreyfuss asks Baxter if he could donate his body to the medicine faculty in case he dies.
  • Cool Old Guy: Dr. Dreyfuss warns Baxter every time he has "parties" as it could give him back as a punishment to his health and life. He also immediately arrived to save Fran's life when Baxter asked him for help and he reconsidered his duty as a favor to a neighbor. Also, he was the one who taught C. C. Baxter's most important lesson in life: be a man, a "mensch".
  • Death Glare: Mrs. Dreyfuss gives a few ones to Baxter when she was told that Fran committed suicide because of him.
  • No Name Given: Dr. Dreyfuss' first name is never mentioned during the whole film. However, the opposite happens to his wife whose name is Mildred.

    Miss Olsen 

Miss Olsen

Played By: Edie Adams

Sheldrake's personal secretary and one of his former lovers.


  • Jerkass Has a Point: She told in Fran's face that Sheldrake is only using her for his own amusement in a quite aggressive manner at the office's Christmas party. It's true, Sheldrake had several lovers in his life and made lots of false promises, but the way she told it to Fran made her day a true mess. Also, she might as broken and frustated as Fran.

    Kirkeby, Vanderhoff, Eichelberger and Dobisch 

Al Kirkeby, Mr. Vanderhoff, Mr. Eichelberger and Joe Dobisch

Played By: David Lewis (Kirkeby), Willard Waterman (Vanderhoff), David White (Eichelberger) and Ray Walston (Dobisch)

C. C. Baxter's superiors in the building and the ones who praise him to rank positions when Baxter lend them the apartment for their personal parties.


  • Dirty Old Man: All four seem to have reached their fifties and like to spend nights with younger women. Most notably when Kirkeby touches Fran when leaving the lift.
  • Karma Houdini: Unlike Sheldrake, they don't receive any punishment for using Baxter's apartment abusively.
  • Moral Myopia: Kirkeby tells Karl, Fran's hot tempered brother-in-law, that Fran spent Christmas at Baxter's apartment to get some revenge for not lending it to him.

    Karl Matuschka 

Karl Matuschka

Played By: Johnny Seven

Fran's brother-in-law, a NY cab driver.


  • The Determinator: Much to his chargrin, he has to move to search for his sister-in-law. He doesn't care actually, but his wife considers her sister a decent woman.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Karl is very though and impatient, ready to punch someone as soon as they proof his mood.
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