Jerry Lewis, comedy legend, RIP

Peter Castro
August 21, 2017

The legendary comedian, singer, actor, filmmaker, producer, and all-around creator died in his Las Vegas home on Sunday morning, his family confirms.

Lewis, at right, joined late singer and actor Dean Martin to become a comic duo of global fame early in their careers. The latter went on to star in a series of films including 1960's The Bellboy and 1963's The Nutty Professor.

Later generations knew him primarily as the tireless conductor of the U.S. telethons for victims of muscular dystrophy, raising millions of dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Just previous year, he starred in Max Rose, a drama about an aging musician dealing with his wife's possible past infidelity.

"Jerry Lewis was a genius comedian, actor, director, inventor, humanitarian, and as a Las Vegan, what I miss most." tweeted Kimmel. The cause of death is still unknown.

Their type of slapstick-heavy, give-and-take comedy landed them their own radio show, The Martin and Lewis Show.

His annual Labour Day Weekend telethons to raise funds for muscular dystrophy, which were held from 1966 until 2010, were as legendary as the man himself. He also adopted a daughter with his second wife, SanDee Pitnick.

Jerry Lewis
GETTY COMEDIAN Jerry began performing at the age of five

Lewis was plagued with health issues throughout his life.

As with any star in Hollywood Lewis had his ups and downs throughout his career. Encouraged by his parents to become an entertainer, Lewis was onstage performing in the Catskills resorts alongside his mom and dad at the age of five.

While it's particularly sad to learn of Lewis' passing, it's important we appreciate his long career in Hollywood and the impact he had on future generations of comedians.

Though he didn't return to the Broadway stage after Damn Yankees, he directed the musical stage adaptation of The Nutty Professor in 2012, a show with Broadway aims.

"I mean you got some very, very amusing people that do lovely work-but I have a problem with the lady up there that's going to give birth to a child-which is a miracle", he added.

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