US comedian Jerry Lewis, famous for his role as The Nutty Professor, has died aged 91.
Joseph Levitch -- he changed the name to Lewis as a teenager -- was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 16, 1926.
Entertainment ran in the family: His father was a vaudeville performer, his mother a piano player. Lewis occasionally performed with his parents, and by the time he was a teenager he had developed his own act. He was a regular in New York's Catskill Mountain resorts, popular summertime retreats for area Jews. But Lewis was also a lonely boy, essentially raised by his grandmother. Lewis told King that his comedy was rooted in hurt.
He was originally paired up with Dean Martin in 1946, forming the famed comedy team of Martin and Lewis. In addition to the duo's popular nightclub work, they starred in a successful series of comedy films for Paramount Pictures.
Martin played the romantic, crooning straight man, and Lewis was the anything-for-a-laugh comedian of chaos. (Some observers called them "the organ grinder and the monkey.") The act often featured a stint of Martin chasing Lewis around the stage. They appeared on the very first "Ed Sullivan Show" (then called "Toast of the Town") and shrewdly negotiated control of their various appearances, earning them millions.
Lewis was also known for his charity fund-raising telethons and position as national chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Lewis won several awards for lifetime achievements from The American Comedy Awards, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Venice Film Festival, and he had two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2005, he received the Governors Award of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Board of Governors, which is the highest Emmy Award presented.
On February 22, 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Lewis the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
He retired from making films in 1995 but returned as the star of 2016 drama Max Rose when he was 87.
The country where he was very popular is France. The French are very fond of his movies and activities.
People knowing him as an actor and a comedian belong to 50’s and 60’s but the new generation know him mostly with the telethons that he had weekly to raise funds for victims of muscular dystrophy.
He was going to make stage appearances over the next few months in New York, and in Las Vegas next year. According to one of his sayings the key success in his business was to maintain childlike quality.
Jerry lewis died peacefully of natural causes at the age of 91 in his house in Vegas while his family members were on his side.
"He provided belly laughs...he just had that spark of genius," says actress Carol Burnett of Jerry Lewis.