Jerry Lewis, legendary comedian and actor, dies at 91

Oscar Cross
August 21, 2017

His family told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a statement: "Legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home [with] family by his side".

The final video is a compilation featuring some more of Lewis' funniest moments.

By age 15, he had assembled his own routine of comedic lip-syncing and made the rounds of NY talent agents, although only a burlesque house in Buffalo was interested. A Los Angeles Times article from 2011, the year after Lewis last hosted the event, reported that Lewis's telethons had helped raise more than $2.5 billion for research into the disease.

"I get paid", Lewis once said, "for what most kids get punished for".

He is survived by his second wife SanDee Pitnick, who he Wednesday in 1983, and six children. Jerry appeared in two movies previous year, "Max Rose" and "The Trust".

Mark J. Terrill  The Associated Press The many faces of Jerry Lewis were on display at the 81st Academy Awards in 2008
Mark J. Terrill The Associated Press The many faces of Jerry Lewis were on display at the 81st Academy Awards in 2008

Hollywood stars have begun to pay tribute to the comedian.

Lewis was also an acclaimed author, having penned three best sellers: The Total Filmmaker, a guide for directors; as well as the memoirs Jerry Lewis: In Person, and Dean & Me: A Love Story.

A year ago he said the movie was his all-time favourite: "It was a love affair from the minute I started to write it".

And because of Jerry Lewis, millions of people who faced awful diseases did not have to face them alone.

Lewis was born in New Jersey and originally came into the spotlight as part of a double act with singer Dean Martin. Though he is mostly known for his slapstick comedy, the iconic star is also known as a humanitarian. But there's no denying the influence he's had on American comedy, starting with his days as one half of the legendary comedy duo Martin and Lewis. He followed in his parents' footsteps as soon as he turned 5 with his debut at New York's "Borscht Belt" nightclubs in the Catskill Mountains. Observers have attributed their breakup to Lewis' interest in producing and directing movies, his ego and need for control, as well as a desire for approval from the often-remote Martin.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article