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TCM Remembers Jerry Lewis
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TCM Remembers Jerry Lewis - 9/4


Turner Classic Movies pays tribute to Jerry Lewis on Monday, September 4 with the following festival of films. This program will replace the previously scheduled movies for that day so please take note.

The new schedule for the evening of Monday, September 4 will be:
8:00 PM The Nutty Professor (1963)
10:00 PM The King of Comedy (1983)
12:00 AM The Stooge (1952)
2:00 AM The Bellboy (1960)
3:30 AM The Disorderly Orderly (1964)


"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. Jerry Lewis passed away August 20, 2017 at the age of 91.

While Lewis 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.


--Biographical information courtesy of TCMDb.