103 Facts About Jerry Lewis


Jerry Lewis starred in 60 films, directed 13 films and helped to develop and popularize video assist.

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Jerry Lewis was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey, to a Jewish family.

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Jerry Lewis was a "character" even in his teenage years, pulling pranks in his neighborhood including sneaking into kitchens to steal fried chicken and pies.

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Jerry Lewis dropped out of Irvington High School in the tenth grade.

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Jerry Lewis landed a gig at a burlesque house in Buffalo, but his performance fell flat and was unable to book any more shows.

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Irving Kaye, a Borscht Belt comedian, saw Jerry Lewis's mime act at Brown's Hotel in Loch Sheldrake, New York, the following summer, and the audience was so enthusiastic that Kaye became Jerry Lewis's manager and guardian for Borscht Belt appearances.

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In 1945, Jerry Lewis was 19 when he met 27-year-old singer Dean Martin at the Glass Hat Club in New York City, where the two performed until they debuted at Atlantic City's 500 Club as Martin and Jerry Lewis on July 25, 1946.

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Martin and Jerry Lewis quickly rose to national prominence, first with their popular nightclub act, then as stars of their radio program The Martin and Jerry Lewis Show.

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Martin and Jerry Lewis cameoed in Bob Hope and Bing Crosby's film Road to Bali, then Hope and Crosby would do the same in Scared Stiff a year later.

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In 1989, Jerry Lewis returned the gesture, attending Martin's 72nd birthday.

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Jerry Lewis felt his life was in a crisis state: "I was unable to put one foot in front of the other with any confidence.

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Jerry Lewis had not sung alone on stage since he was five years old, twenty-five years before, but he appeared before the audience of a thousand, nonetheless, delivering jokes and clowning with the audience, while Garland sat off-stage, watching.

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Jerry Lewis then sang a rendition of a song he'd learned as a child, "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody" along with "Come Rain or Come Shine".

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At his wife's pleading, Jerry Lewis used his own money to record the songs on a single.

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Jerry Lewis has proved that he can be a success by himself, " wrote one.

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Jerry Lewis continued with club performances in Miami, New York, Chicago and Washington.

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Jerry Lewis appeared on both Tonight Starring Jack Paar and The Ed Sullivan Show and beginning in January 1957, in a number of solo TV specials for NBC.

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Jerry Lewis starred in his adaptation of "The Jazz Singer" for Startime.

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Jerry Lewis hosted the Academy Awards three times, in 1956, 1957 and the 31st Academy Awards in 1959, which ran twenty minutes short, forcing Jerry Lewis to improvise to fill time.

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Jerry Lewis remained at Paramount and started off with his first solo effort The Delicate Delinquent then starred in his next film The Sad Sack.

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Jerry Lewis did new films with him, first with Rock-A-Bye Baby and then The Geisha Boy.

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Jerry Lewis then appeared in Don't Give Up The Ship and cameoed in Li'l Abner.

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Jerry Lewis had finished his film contract with Wallis with Visit to a Small Planet and wrapped up production on his own film Cinderfella, directed by Tashlin and was postponed for a Christmas 1960 release.

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Jerry Lewis later revealed that Paramount was not happy about financing a "silent movie" and withdrew backing.

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Jerry Lewis used his own funds to cover the movie's $950, 000 budget.

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Jerry Lewis continued to direct more films that he had co-written with Richmond, including The Ladies Man, where Jerry Lewis constructed a three-story dollhouse-like set spanning two sound stages, with the set equipped with state of the art lighting and sound, eliminating the need for boom mics in each room and his next movie The Errand Boy, was one of the earliest films about movie-making, using all of the Paramount backlot and offices.

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Jerry Lewis then directed, co-wrote and starred in the smash hit The Nutty Professor.

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Jerry Lewis next starred in The Patsy, his satire about the Hollywood star-making industry, The Disorderly Orderly, his final collaboration with Tashlin, appeared in a cameo on The Joey Bishop Show and The Family Jewels (1965) about a young heiress who must choose among six uncles, one of whom is up to no good and out to harm the girl's beloved bodyguard who practically raised her.

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In 1965, Jerry Lewis was interviewed on The David Susskind Show, then starred in Boeing Boeing, his last film for Paramount, based on the French stage play, in which he received a Golden Globe nomination; an episode of Ben Casey, an early dramatic role; The Andy Williams Show; and Hullabaloo with his son Gary Jerry Lewis.

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In 1966, after 17 years, and with no explanation, Jerry Lewis left Paramount and signed with Columbia Pictures where he tried to reinvent himself with more serious roles.

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Jerry Lewis went on to star in Three on a Couch, The Merv Griffin Show, Way.

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Show, Batman, Laugh In, Password, a pilot for Sheriff Who, a new version of The Jerry Lewis Show, this time as a one-hour variety show for NBC, which ran from 1967 to 1969, The Big Mouth, Run for Your Life and The Danny Thomas Hour.

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Jerry Lewis directed and appeared in the partly unreleased The Day the Clown Cried, a drama set in a Nazi concentration camp.

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Jerry Lewis explained his reason for choosing the project and the emotional difficulty of the subject matter in an interview with an Australian documentary film crew.

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Jerry Lewis guest starred on Pink Lady in 1980, then made a comeback to the big screen in Hardly Working, after an 11-year absence from film.

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In 1982 and 1983, Jerry Lewis appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and in The King of Comedy, as a late-night TV host, plagued by two obsessive fans, in which he received wide critical acclaim and a BAFTA nomination for this serious dramatic role.

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Jerry Lewis then was a guest on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

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Jerry Lewis then hosted a new syndicated version of The Jerry Lewis Show, this time as a talk show for Metromedia, which was not continued beyond the scheduled five shows.

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In 1985, Jerry Lewis directed an episode of Brothers, appeared at the first Comic Relief in 1986, where he was the only performer to receive a standing ovation, was interviewed on Classic Treasures and starred in the ABC television movie Fight for Life.

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In 1988, Jerry Lewis hosted America's All-Time Favorite Movies, then was interviewed by Howard Cosell on Speaking of Everything.

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In 1989, Jerry Lewis joined Martin on stage, for what would be Martin's final live performance, at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

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Jerry Lewis wheeled out a cake on Martin's 72nd birthday, sang "Happy Birthday" to him and joked, "Why we broke up, I'll never know".

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Jerry Lewis handled two years directing episodes of Super Force and Good Grief in 1990 and 1991, then star in Mr Saturday Night, The Arsenio Hall Show, The Whoopi Goldberg Show and Inside The Comedy Mind.

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Jerry Lewis missed only three shows in more than four years, one of those occasions being the funeral of Martin, his comedy partner of ten years.

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Man in Motion, a featurette for Three on a Couch, features the video system, named "Jerry's Noisy Toy" and shows Lewis receiving the Golden Light Technical Achievement award for its development.

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Jerry Lewis stated he worked with the head of Sony to produce the prototype.

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Jerry Lewis's students included George Lucas, whose friend Steven Spielberg sometimes sat in on classes.

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Jerry Lewis screened Spielberg's early film Amblin' and told his students, "That's what filmmaking is all about.

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Also, Jerry Lewis traveled to medical schools for seminars on laughter and healing with Dr Clifford Kuhn and did corporate and college lectures, motivational speaking and promoted the pain-treatment company Medtronic.

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Jerry Lewis earned consistent praise from French critics in the influential magazines Cahiers du Cinema and Positif, where he was hailed as an ingenious auteur.

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Jerry Lewis is then fitted into a historical context and seen as not only worthy of critique, but as an innovator and satirist of his time.

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Jean-Pierre Coursodon states in a 1975 Film Comment article, "The merit of the French critics, auteurist excesses notwithstanding, was their willingness to look at what Jerry Lewis was doing as a filmmaker for what it was, rather than with some preconception of what film comedy should be.

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Appreciation of Jerry Lewis became a misunderstood stereotype about "the French", and it was often the object of jokes in American pop culture.

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In 1952, after another appeal, Jerry Lewis hosted New York area telethons until 1959 and in 1954, fought Rocky Marciano in a boxing bout for MDA's fund drive.

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The activists said the telethon perpetuated prejudices and stereotypes, that Jerry Lewis treated those he claimed to be helping with little respect, and that he used offensive language when describing them.

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Jerry Lewis's motto summed up the philosophy behind his years of devotion to MDA: "I shall pass through this world but once.

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Jerry Lewis rebutted the criticism and defended his methods saying, "If you don't tug at their heartstrings, then you're on the air for nothing.

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In early 2016, at MDA's brand re-launch event at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Jerry Lewis broke a five-year silence during a special taped message for the organization on its website, marking his first appearance in support of MDA since his final telethon in 2010 and the end of his tenure as national chairman in 2011.

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In 1969, he agreed to lend his name to "Jerry Lewis Cinemas", offered by National Cinema Corporation as a franchise business opportunity for those interested in theatrical movie exhibition.

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Jerry Lewis Cinemas stated that their theaters could be operated by a staff of as few as two with the aid of automation and support provided by the franchiser in booking film and other aspects of film exhibition.

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For $50, 000, Jerry Lewis Cinemas offered an opportunity known as an "area directorship", in which investors controlled franchising opportunities in a territory as well as their own cinemas.

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In 1973, Jerry Lewis appeared on the 1st annual 20-hour Highway Safety Foundation telethon, hosted by Davis Jr.

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In 2010, Lewis met with seven-year-old Lochie Graham, who shared his idea for "Jerry's House", a place for vulnerable and traumatized children.

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On September 12, 2016, Jerry Lewis lent his name and star power to Criss Angel's HELP charity event.

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Jerry Lewis vowed to leave the country rather than send another of his sons.

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Jerry Lewis once stated political speeches should not be at the Oscars.

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Jerry Lewis stated, "I think we are the most dedicated industry in the world.

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Jerry Lewis mocked citizens' lack of pride in their country, stating, "President Bush is my president.

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Jerry Lewis went on to praise Lucille Ball as "brilliant" and said Carol Burnett is "the greatest female entrepreneur of comedy".

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On other occasions Jerry Lewis expressed admiration for female comedians Totie Fields, Phyllis Diller, Kathleen Freeman, Elayne Boosler, Whoopi Goldberg and Tina Fey.

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Jerry Lewis used the same word the following year on Australian television.

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Jerry Lewis wed Patti Palmer, a singer with Ted Fio Rito, on October 3, 1944.

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Jerry Lewis openly pursued relationships with other women and gave unapologetic interviews about his infidelity, revealing his affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich to People in 2011.

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Jerry Lewis suffered from a number of chronic health problems, illnesses and addictions related both to aging and a back injury sustained in a comedic pratfall.

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Jerry Lewis underwent a cardiac catheterization days after the heart attack, and two stents were inserted into one of his coronary arteries, which was 90 percent blocked.

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However, Jerry Lewis maintained that the payment confusion was the fault of his health insurer.

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In September 2001, Jerry Lewis was unable to perform at a planned London charity event at the London Palladium.

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Jerry Lewis was the headlining act, and was introduced, but did not appear onstage.

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Jerry Lewis had suddenly become unwell, apparently with cardiac problems.

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Some months thereafter, Jerry Lewis began an arduous, months-long therapy that weaned him off prednisone, and he lost much of the weight gained while on the drug.

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In June 2017, Jerry Lewis was hospitalized at a Las Vegas hospital for a urinary tract infection.

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Jerry Lewis died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 20, 2017, at the age of 91.

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Jerry Lewis "single-handedly created a style of humor that was half anarchy, half excruciation.

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Jerry Lewis was the most profoundly creative comedian of his generation and arguably one of the two or three most influential comedians born anywhere in this century.

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Jerry Lewis was known especially for his distinctive voice, facial expressions, pratfalls, and physical stunts.

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Carrey wrote: "Through his comedy, Jerry Lewis would stretch the boundaries of reality so far that it was an act of anarchy.

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Jerry Lewis was able to explore and dissect the psychological side of his persona, which provided a depth to the character and the films that was not present in his previous efforts.

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Jerry Lewis knew how to frame and present his own adrenaline-fuelled, instinctive physical comedy for the camera.

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Jerry Lewis was at the forefront in the transition to independent filmmaking, which came to be known as New Hollywood in the late 1960s.

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Jerry Lewis came along to a studio system in which the industry was regularly stratified between players and coaches.

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Yet Jerry Lewis regularly led, often flouting the power structure to do so.

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Jerry Lewis is the only one today who's making courageous films.

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Intensely personal and original, Jerry Lewis's films were groundbreaking in their use of dark humor for psychological exploration.

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Stephen Dalton in The Hollywood Reporter wrote, Jerry Lewis had "an agreeably bitter streak, offering self-lacerating insights into celebrity culture which now look strikingly modern.

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Jerry Lewis was an early master of deconstruction to enhance comedy.

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Jerry Lewis wrote in The Total Filmmaker, his belief in breaking the fourth wall, actors looking directly into the camera, despite industry norms.

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De Niro said: "Jerry Lewis was a pioneer in comedy and film.

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Jerry Lewis embodied the term "funny bones": a way of differentiating between comedians who tell funny and those who are funny.

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From 1949, as part of Martin and Jerry Lewis, and from 1956 as a solo, Jerry Lewis was a casino showroom headliner, playing numerous dates over the decades.

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Jerry Lewis was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

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Piscopo channeled Jerry Lewis while performing as a 20th-century stand-up comedian in Star Trek: The Next Generation; in the second-season episode "The Outrageous Okona", Piscopo's Holodeck character, The Comic, tutors android Lieutenant Commander Data on humor and comedy.

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Jerry Lewis played Lewis, with impersonator Rich Little as Dean Martin, on stage.

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When that failed, Jerry Lewis tried to blackball Petrillo by pressuring television outlets and then nightclubs, threatening legal action after Petrillo used his Jerry Lewis impersonation in the film Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla.

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