The beloved American actor and filmmaker, Jerry Lewis died today, August 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Confirmation of the iconic actor’s death came by way of John Katsilometes, a columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal, who is said to have spoken with the actor’s family.
The actor was born March 16, 1926, in Newark, Connecticut. He was born Joseph Levitch to parents Daniel Levitch and Rachel Levitch. Lewis leaves behind wife SanDee Pitnick and his seven children.
The comedian is said to have started his career in his teens, in movies, television, stage, and radio. Though he is mostly known for his slapstick comedy, the iconic star is also known as a humanitarian. He has raised vast amounts of monies for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). He hosted the live Labor Day broadcast of the “Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon” for 44 years
The actor also made many contributions to the film industry. In 1960, he made a device called the video assist, that allows directors to review their work immediately on set, which is still commonly used.
As with any star in Hollywood Lewis had his ups and downs throughout his career. Lewis shot to fame shortly after World War II. Barely out of his teens, the actor performed in a nightclub act where the relaxed and the mellow crooner Dean Martin, mixed well with the hyperactive antics of Lewis.
The duo formed the Martin and Lewis comedy team in 1946 and started gaining national prominence, making many appearances on live television shows like their first one June 20, 1948, on “Toast of the Town” on CBS, later renamed “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
The break with the iconic Martin in 1956, helped Lewis to move on to a successful solo career. Where he not only starred in his own films, he also wrote, produced, and directed many of the movies and shows he acted in.
Lewis was officially recognized as a “towering figure in cinema” at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The actor was shown tribute for the screening and preliminary cut of “Max Rose,” the actor’s first movie in nearly 20 years. The movie premiered in the United States in 2016, and shown as part of the Lewis tribute at the Museum of Modern Art.
Written by Tracy Blake
The New York Times: Jerry Lewis, Mercurial Comedian and Filmmaker, Dies at 91
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