Comedy Icon and Telethon Host Jerry Lewis Dies, Aged 91

Posted 2017/08/21 0 0

Jerry Lewis, whose performances have graced just about every modern medium, has died at age 91.


It is with great sadness that we report (via Las Vegas Review Journal reporter John Katsilometes) that comedy legend Jerry Lewis has passed away at age 91 at his home in Las Vegas.

“Legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home with his family by his side,” a statement said. Lewis had last been hospitalized in June, according to People.

Lewis’ life and his impact on Hollywood is certainly too big to fit into a single post, but those looking to remember the actor, or perhaps dive into his works for the first time, would do well to use this A.V. Club article on his comedic career as a starting point. For many, of course, the crown jewel of Lewis’ filmography is the one movie none of us have ever seen: Lewis’ 1972 film The Day the Clown Died, a movie about a circus clown who accompanies children to their deaths in the holocaust, has long been considered one of the great misguided films in Hollywood history, and will finally be available to the public in 2024.

In an interview with The Associated Press from 2016, Lewis, at 90 and promoting the film "Max Rose," said he still woke up every day at 4:30 or 5 in the morning to write, and he had a handful of standup shows on the schedule.

Lewis was not only devoted his life to writing but also doing charity. Every Labor Day weekend from 1966 to 2010, he and celebrity pals such as Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Carson and Jack Benny would be on television for almost 24 hours, raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association on his annual telethon.

He raised around $2.5 billion through these telethons, the MDA told the Los Angeles Times, and he scooped up some impressive accolades for himself along the way, such as the 2009 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

When he died Sunday at 91, the White House issued a brief statement of appreciation, which mentioned “his incredible charity work” which “touched the lives of millions.” It called him “one of our greatest entertainers and humanitarians.”

To many, Lewis was a hero.