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|Also Known As:||Joseph Levitch,Joe Levitch||Died:|
|Born:||March 16, 1926||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Newark, New Jersey, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor producer director writer professor of cinema (USC) singer busboy shipping clerk soda jerk teacher theater usher|
"Le Roi du Crazy," as his fans in France knew him, Jerry Lewis was one of the most iconic comic performers in Hollywood history. As one half of the legendary comedy team of Martin and Lewis with crooner Dean Martin, Lewis left audiences hysterical with his stage persona - a manic man-child whose rubber limbs and unquenchable curiosity brought utter chaos to every stage he graced. The team's popularity quickly ushered them to television and films, where they became a top box office draw until separating in 1956. Critics wondered if Lewis would translate as a solo act, but he not only surpassed their expectations as a performer, he also displayed a keen visual eye as director on a number of his features, most notably the nearly silent "Bell Boy" (1960) and his most popular picture, "The Nutty Professor" (1963). The 1970s saw an aging Lewis lose his grip on audiences, and his screen appearances were relegated to his annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. He would not rebound until the early 1980s, when a string of highly regarded dramatic turns on television and in features like Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" (1983) would revive interest in his particular brand of humor. Though health issues frequently forced Lewis to curtail his boundless energy, he remained active on stage and screen well into his eighties, which did much to preserve his status as one of the movies' most unique and creative figures.
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