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Monday, August 21, 2017

Remembering Jerry Lewis 1926 - 2017

Actor and comedian Jerry Lewis, who died Sunday at age 91, first became famous as a comedy duo with singer Dean Martin, and they performed together for ten years (1946-56) in nightclubs, radio, television (NBC's The Colgate Comedy Hour for which they received a 1952 Emmy nomination for Best Comedian) and movies. Their sixteen films include My Friend Irma (1949), The Caddy (1953), Living It Up (1954), You're Never Too Young (1955), Artists and Models (1955) and Hollywood or Bust (1956).

After his split from Martin, Lewis went on to have a successful solo career as an actor, director, writer and producer in such films as The Delicate Delinquent (1957), The Sad Sack (1957), Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958), The Geisha Boy (1958), The Bellboy (1960), Cinderfella (1960), The Ladies Man (1961), The Errand Boy (1961), The Nutty Professor (1963), Who's Minding the Store? (1963), The Patsy (1964), The Disorderly Orderly (1964), The Family Jewels (1965), Boeing Boeing (1965) - for which he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical - Three on a Couch (1966), Way...Way Out (1966), The Big Mouth (1967), Hook, Line & Sinker (1969), The Day the Clown Cried (an unreleased 1972 drama), Hardly Working (1980), Slapstick of Another Kind (1982), The King of Comedy (1982), Cracking Up (1983), Arizona Dream (1993), Funny Bones (1995) and Max Rose (2016). In 2009, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his fundraising support for research into muscular dystrophy (he hosted The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon from 1966 to 2010).

Lewis starred in three television versions of The Jerry Lewis Show - a 1963 ABC variety show, a 1967-69 NBC variety show, and a 1984 one-week trial run of a syndicated talk show (which replaced Alan Thicke's Thicke of the Night). In 2005, he received the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

In 1976, Lewis and Lynn Redgrave starred in a Broadway-bound revival of the 1938 musical revue, Hellzapoppin, which closed on the road. In 1995, he made his Broadway debut in the musical revival of Damn Yankees, which he later went on tour with in the U.S. and London's West End. And in 2012, he directed a musical adaptation of The Nutty Professor in Nashville.

Lewis was married twice and had seven children, including eldest son, musician Gary Lewis of Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Jerry Lewis's life and career.

Living It Up (1954) with Sheree North

You're Never Too Young (1955)

Artists and Models (1955) with Shirley MacLaine

He was the Mystery Guest on What's My Line? on July 22, 1956.

Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958)

Cinderfella (1960)

The Errand Boy (1961)

The Nutty Professor (1963)

Who's Minding the Store? (1963)

The Andy Williams Show on March 15, 1965

He was the Mystery Guest on What's My Line? on June 19, 1966.

Hugh Hefner's syndicated Playboy After Dark on March 7, 1969, with Sammy Davis Jr.

He was the guest host of The Tonight Show on December 22, 1970.

The Carol Burnett Show on January 11, 1971

The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour on September 22, 1972

The Dick Cavett Show on January 27, 1973

He was a guest on Cher on February 23, 1975, and on November 30, 1975.

Frank Sinatra reunited Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin during the 1976 MDA Telethon.

The NBC variety show, Pink Lady and Jeff, on April 4, 1980

Late Night with David Letterman on October 5, 1982

Cracking Up (1983)

He was the guest host of Saturday Night Live on November 19, 1983.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on March 21, 1984

The Jerry Lewis Show on June 22, 1984, with co-host Charlie Callas and guests Carol Burnett and Joe Piscopo

Kathie Lee Johnson interviewed him on Good Morning America when he directed a 1985 episode of the Showtime sitcom, Brothers.

HBO Comedy Hour: An Evening with Sammy Davis Jr. & Jerry Lewis on November 5, 1988

The Arsenio Hall Show on May 12, 1992

Late Show with David Letterman on September 29, 1993

The Broadway revival of Damn Yankees in 1995 with Charlotte d'Amboise

Late Show with David Letterman on February 27, 1995

Charlie Rose on March 17, 1995

On November 10, 1998, he was a guest on ABC's Politically Incorrect with host Bill Maher and guests Dixie Carter, Penn Jillette and Las Vegas mayor Jan Jones.

Fifty-three years after his film, The Bellboy, he played a bellboy once again in the 2013 Brazilian comedy, Till Luck Do Us Part 2.

He made his final talk show appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on September 16, 2014.

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