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 Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis

Original Name Joseph Levitch
Birth
Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Death 20 Aug 2017 (aged 91)
Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 182580894 · View Source
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American Actor, Comedian, Singer, Producer, Director, Screenwriter and Humanitarian. Born Joseph Levitch, he had a prolific career in motion pictures, nightclubs, television shows, concerts, album recordings and musicals. He also served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and hosted the live Labor Day broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for several decades years, raising hundreds of millions of dollars for the organization. Both his parents were in show business and, at the age of 5, he made his debut at a Borscht Belt hotel singing 'Brother Can You Spare a Dime?'. By age 15 he was pantomiming operatic and popular songs and was booked into a burlesque house in Buffalo, New York. In 1942 he was performing at Brown’s Hotel in New York, where comedian Irving Kaye, who was impressed with his act, landed Lewis some bookings and became his road manager. In 1946, Lewis met singer Dean Martin at New York nightclub. Their pairing featured improvisatory backbiting and physical chicanery. When producer Hal Wallis saw them performing at the Copacabana and at Slapsie Maxie’s in Hollywood, he signed them to a Paramount Pictures contract. Over the next 10 years, Martin and Lewis turned out one comedy film after another starting with 1949's 'My Friend Irma'. Among other films they starred in were 'The Caddy', 'The Stooge', 'Artists and Models' and 'Pardners'. In 1956, after their film 'Hollywood or Bust', they made their last dual appearance at the Copacabana. Over the next five years, Lewis developed a slicker, more sophisticated stage persona and would play to sellout crowds in Las Vegas throughout his career, ending in 2016. His solo film career included such films as 'The Delicate Delinquent', 'Rock-a-Bye Baby', which had a million-selling single in the “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby” title track, which led to several albums on Decca Records, 'The Ladies Man', 'The Errand Boy', 'Cinderfella' and 'The Disorderly Orderly'. 1963's 'The Nutty Professor' was his biggest success ever, grossing $19 million. Beginning in 1966, he began serving as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, hosting the association’s annual Labor Day weekend telethon, raising over $2 billion during the more than 40 years he was host. Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences never honored Lewis for his film work, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charitable activity in 2009. His many other honors included two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an induction into the Légion d’Honneur, awarded by the French government in 2006. In 2015, the Library of Congress announced that it had acquired Lewis’s personal archives.

Bio by: Louis du Mort


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Louis du Mort
  • Added: 20 Aug 2017
  • Find A Grave Memorial 182580894
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Jerry Lewis (16 Mar 1926–20 Aug 2017), Find A Grave Memorial no. 182580894, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.