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Characters / The Nutty Professor (1963)

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Characters from the 1963 movie The Nutty Professor.

    Julius Kelp/Buddy Love 

Prof. Julius Kelp

Played by: Jerry Lewis
A kindly and brilliant, but physically weak and highly accident-prone college professor. His attempts to create a formula to improve his physique end up improving just about everything else about him, creating his alter-ego Buddy Love.
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Rarely thinks through the consequences of his actions before he does things, usually with disastrous results.
  • Butt-Monkey: While a lot of the anger he gets from the other characters is understandable given his accident-prone nature, he also gets treated very badly by others even when he isn't causing accidents, with his humiliation at the hands of a football player being what causes him to create his formula.
  • Establishing Character Moment: No sooner have the opening credits ended than a demonstration to his class ends up causing a massive explosion felt halfway across the campus.
  • The Klutz: As you'd expect from any character played by Lewis. Not only is he physically very clumsy, but he has a nasty habit of creating massive explosions whenever his experiments go wrong.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Like a lot of Lewis's other characters, he somehow manages to hold onto his job despite the massive disasters he causes, including one in his first week where he caused an explosion that injured a colleague so badly they were in bandages for two years.
  • Wall of Blather: While he actually has some Motor Mouth habits even before becoming Buddy, they mostly come out in the form of him going on long, rambling speeches about trivial matters.

Buddy Love

Played by: Jerry Lewis
Julius's alter-ego, who emerges whenever he takes his formula. He's physically near-identical to Julius (apart from having nicer teeth), and charismatic, but also very arrogant.
  • Jerkass: While he might not cross the line into being outright villainous, he's certainly not a nice person, putting down and even picking fights with people who annoy him.
  • Take That!: His charismatic and initially likeable personality, which ends up giving way to arrogance, is thought to be a stab at Lewis's former comedic partner, Dean Martin, who he was decidedly not on good terms with at this point.

    Other Characters 

Stella Purdy

Played by: Stella Stevens
One of Julius's more talented (and good-looking) students. Though their teacher-student relationship would normally make it inappropriate for the two to get involved, Julius's turning himself into Buddy eliminates that little obstacle.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite getting into a relationship with Julius at the end, it's also revealed that she's kept two bottles of his formula, presumably so as to transform him into Buddy if ever she feels like it.
  • Punny Name: "Purdy" sounds a lot like "Pretty", which Julius certainly considers her to be.

Dr. Warfield

Played by: Del Moore
The head of the science faculty at Julius's college. He puts up with Julius for his skill as a scientist... but only just.
  • Dean Bitterman: Technically he's only the faculty head rather than the dean of the college, but he otherwise fits this trope, frequently berating Julius for his incompetence and also snapping at his secretary at the slightest provocation.

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