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Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis

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The King Of Comedy DVD The quickest path to fame is to pull of the crime of the century. Robert De Niro... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

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The Nutty Professor DVD Jerry Lewis reprises his role as the original Nutty Professor in this animated... more info $7.93was $7.93 Buy Now

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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: actor, producer, director, writer, professor of cinema (USC), singer, busboy, shipping clerk, soda jerk, teacher, theater usher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

"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...

"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.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Smorgasbord (1983) Director
2.
  Hardly Working (1981) Director
4.
  One More Time (1970) Director
5.
  Which Way to the Front? (1970) Director
6.
  The Big Mouth (1967) Director
7.
  Three on a Couch (1966) Director
8.
  The Family Jewels (1965) Director
9.
  The Patsy (1964) Director
10.
  The Nutty Professor (1963) Director

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Milk and Money (1996) (Cameo)
3.
 Funny Bones (1995) George Fawkes
5.
 Mr. Saturday Night (1992) Himself
6.
 Arizona Dream (1992) Leo Sweetie
7.
 Cookie (1989) Arnold Ross
8.
 Fight For Life (1987) Dr Bernard Abrams
10.
 Slapstick Of Another Kind (1984) Caleb Swain; Wilbur Swain
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Joined parents in the summers on the Borscht Circuit, performing the occasional solo number to their act
:
As a teen, developed his Record Act, miming and silently mouthing lyrics of songs played off-stage
1942:
Received first professional booking at the Loew's Pitman Theatre in Brooklyn, NY
1944:
Booked at the Glass Hat in NYC on the same bill as Dean Martin
1946:
First performed with Dean Martin at the 500 Club in Atlantic City
1948:
Made TV debut on the Ed Sullivan hosted CBS program "Toast of the Town" (later titled "The Ed Sullivan Show)
1948:
Signed a contract with Universal-International
1949:
First film with Martin, "My Friend Irma"
1949:
Co-formed York Productions with Dean Martin
1949:
Performed in the Martin and Lewis radio show
1950:
Formed Gar-Ron Productions (named after sons Gary and Ronald)
1950:
Martin and Lewis appeared as rotating hosts of "The Colgate Comedy Hour" (NBC)
1954:
Debuted as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Labor Day telethon
1955:
Began a long collaboration with writer-director Frank Tashlin with the film "Artists and Models"
1956:
Last film with Martin, "Hollywood or Bust"; also directed by Tashlin
1956:
Ended partnership with Dean Martin; later formed Jerry Lewis Productions
1957:
Produced first film without Martin, "The Delicate Delinquet"
1958:
First solo TV special, "The Jerry Lewis Show" (ABC)
1959:
Signed a long-term exclusive contract with Paramount
1960:
Directed and starred in "The Bellboy"; also co-wrote with Bill Richmond
1961:
Directed and starred in the comedy "The Ladies Man"
1963:
Produced and starred in the comedy hit "The Nutty Professor"; also directed and co-wrote with Bill Richmond
1964:
Last picture with Tashlin, "The Disorderly Orderly"
1965:
Discontinued asociation with Paramount
1966:
Appeared as master of ceremonies for first "Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon"; began ongoing association with MDA
1969:
Directed Sammy Davis and Peter Lawford in "One More Time"; only time Lewis directed without also acting in the film
1970:
Last released film for 11 years, "Which Way to the Front?"
1971:
Produced and starred in the never-released "The Day the Clown Cried"
1976:
Acted on stage in "Helzapoppin"; show closed before reaching Broadway
1976:
Reunited with Dean Martin on stage at a muscular dystrophy telethon; reunion arranged by Frank Sinatra
1981:
Returned to the screen with "Hardly Working"
1983:
Played a late-night TV host plagued by obsessive fans in Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy"
1988:
Guest starred on five episodes of the CBS series "Wise Guy"
1991:
Starred in "Arizona Dream" with Johnny Depp and Faye Dunnaway
1994:
Traveled to Blackpool, England to make "Funny Bones" for Hollywood Pictures
1995:
Made Broadway debut as Applegate in a revival of "Damn Yankees"
1997:
Reprised role of Applegate in the London production of "Damn Yankees"
2000:
Signed 20-year contract with the Orleans Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, marking his return to Vegas after a 12-year absence
2005:
Wrote a book about his partnership with Dean Martin titled <i>Dean & Me (A Love Story)</i>
2006:
Guest starred on an episode of "Law and Order: SUV" (NBC) as the homeless uncle of Detective Munch (Richard Belzer)
2009:
Announced to return to the big screen for the film "Max Rose"
2011:
Retired as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Labor Day telethon
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Irvington High School: Irvington , New Jersey -
Essex County Vocational School: Essex County , New Jersey -

Notes

He has made numerous other recordings.

While Lewis has always claimed that his birth name was Joseph, some sources contend that "official records" indicate he was actually named Jerome.

Lewis received the Most Promising Male Star Award from Motion Picture Daily in 1950.

He received the Herald-Fame Award as one of the Top Ten Money Making Stars, 1951, 1952 (as Number One), 1953, 1954, 1957.

Lewis and Dean Martin were voted Best Comedy Team in Motion Picture Daily Radio Poll in 1951, 1952, 1953 and 1956.

"The Nutty Professor" was named the Best Picture of 1964 by French critics.

Lewis has won the Best Director of the Year Award eight times in Europe: three in France and one each in Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands

"Jerry Lewis is a man for all seasons, all people, all times. His name has, in the hearts of millions, become synonymous with peace, love and brotherhood." --Congressman Les Aspin of Wisconsin, concluding his 1977 nomination of Lewis for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In 1971, he was presented with the Murray-Green Award for Community Services by the AFL-CIO. It is the highest honor the labor organization can bestow on an American citizen.

In September of 1976, the United States Senate unanimously adopted a resolution of appreciation "For his outstanding contribution in the fight against muscular dystrophy".

Other awards recognizing Lewis' combat against neuromuscular disease include: the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) Award of the Year (June 1978); the Jefferson Award for the "Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged" (June 1978); the Touchdown Club of Washington DC's Hubert H. Humphrey Humanitarian Award (January 1980); Boston University School of Law's Neal Pike Prize for Service to the Handicapped (November 1984); the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service (June 1985); and the Award of Professionalism and Achievement from the Eterna Watch Corporation (1988).

Named Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters and Commander of Legion of Honor by the French government, both in 1984.

In April 1991, Lewis was inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame by the National Association of Broadcasters.

He was inducted into International Comedy Hall of Fame in 1992.

On July 31, 1999, Lewis was hospitalized for nine days in Australia after contracting viral meningitis.

"... With Dean, I finally got my brother. I wasn't an only child anymore, I had someone in my life who was my hero. And he, never having had that kind of relationship, saw that coming from me and nurtured it and treated me with infinite respect while always making me understand that I WAS the kid ... Dean Martin made our act--though I worked very hard in the first six months to get him to be aware of his innate sense of timing. I didn't have time to work on the kid. The kid was just instinctively nuts, and we let him go. But Dean was the genius, and no one has ever noticed that." --Jerry Lewis, Interview, April 1995.

"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way aqain!" --Jerry Lewis moto reflecting his ongoing love affair with humanity

"I don't need other people's pain to make comedy. I just call on my own. I need only to call upon my sorrow to create laughter. Sorrow and laughter are so close, hand-in-glove." --Jerry Lewis in Parade Magazine

There is an official website, The Jerry Lewis Comedy Museum and Store, located at www.jerrylewiscomedy.com.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Patti Palmer. Singer. Married in 1944; divorced in October 1982; born c. 1920.
companion:
Susan Bay. Producer. Had long-term relationship; no longer together.
wife:
SanDee Lewis. Married in 1983.

Family close complete family listing

grandmother:
Sarah Rothberg. Mother's mother; helped to raise Lewis until her death in 1941.
father:
Danny Lewis. Vaudeville entertainer. Died c. 1982.
mother:
Rae Lewis. Entertainer, pianist, music arranger, musical director for husband.
son:
Gary Lewis. Musician. Born on July 31, 1945; married Sara Jane Suzara in 1967; was member of band Gary Lewis and the Playboys; had big hit, "This Diamond Ring".
son:
Ronald Lewis. Born in 1949; adopted by Lewis and his wife Patti in 1950; wife Gail Lewis.
son:
Scott Lewis. Publicist. Born in 1956.
son:
Christopher Lewis. Born in 1957; in August 1991 pleaded innocent to felony counts of grand theft and receiving stolen property in case involving limited edition artworks worth more than $200,000.
son:
Anthony Lewis. Born in 1959.
son:
Joseph Lewis. Born in 1964.
daughter:
Danielle Sara Lewis. Born in April 1992; adopted by Lewis and second wife SanDee in May 1992.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Total Film-Maker"
"Jerry Lewis In Person" Atheneum
"King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis" St. Martin's Press

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