September 22, 2017
Tribute to Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis, the filmmaker, actor, and great comedian has been a defining character of American entertainment in the last century. He rose to fame alongside Dean Martin in a comedy duo, and was known for his unique slapstick humour. On the 20th of August 2017, he passed away at the age of 91 while at home in Las Vegas.
Born on the 16 of March 1926 in New Jersey, Jerry Grew up in a vaudeville family. In 1945, he met Dean Martin while they were performing at New York’s Glass Hat Club. They went on to create a comedy duo and performed in popular nightclubs such as Copacabana. They were an instantaneous success, and within months, their earnings went from a mere $250 a week to more than $5,000.
In 1949, they made a successful transition to the big screen with ‘My Friend Irma’. And this was the beginning of a successful TV and cinema career for both, as they shared the screen on not less than sixteen movies over a decade. After the duo split, Lewis enjoyed a productive career as an actor and director.
In 1957, Lewis became a star in his own rights with the movie The Delicate Delinquent; his first movie without Martin. His directorial debut came with the comedy movie called The Bellboy in 1960. Other hit movie featuring Lewis include The Ladies Man, The Errand Boy, The Nutty Professor, The Patsy, The King of Comedy, and much more. Lewis mentored George Lucas and Steven Spielberg during a movie directing class while he taught at the University of Southern California. This man who had an unquenchable appetite for life once said “I had great success being a total idiot”.
In addition to his successful career as an entertainer, Lewis was known for his selfless charitable work. Until the year 2011, he chaired the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and even hosted the annual telethon that raised over £2.6B for nearly half a century. In 1977, Lewis was rightly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and at the Oscars ceremony in 2009, he was honoured with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.