Lewis, a controversial and also revered entertainer, died after illness, publicist says




You are watching: How old was jerry lewis when he died

Correction: An earlier story misstated the name of the deceased. Comedian Jerry Lewis has died at age 91, follow to his publicist.


Jerry Lewis, the slapstick-loving comedian, innovative filmmaker and also generous fundraiser because that the Muscular Dystrophy Association, died Sunday after ~ a quick illness, claimed his publicist, Candi Cazau. He to be 91.

Cazau would not sophisticated on the illness from i m sorry Lewis to be suffering. Man Fudenberg, coroner because that Clark county in Nevada, stated Lewis passed away from love failure due to peripheral vascular disease.

Lewis very first gained fame because that his frenzied comedy-and-music act with singer Dean Martin. Once that ended in the mid-1950s, Lewis walk solo, and by the early on ‘60s, the had become a top attract in movie such as “The Bellboy,” “The Nutty Professor” and “The Patsy.” follow me the way, that pioneered the usage of videotape and closed-circuit monitors in moviemaking, a now-standard an approach called video assist.

He first helped advanced money for muscular dystrophy in a telethon in 1956. He to be so successful, and so committed to the cause, that children impacted by the an illness became known as “Jerry’s kids.” The telethon, long well-known as “The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon,” began airing on job Day weekend in 1966, and also Lewis served as hold until 2011.

Loved and also criticized


*

in spite of his success, Lewis also was a controversial figure. A number of people suffering with muscular dystrophy claimed Lewis gift victims together childlike and also worthy the pity, rather than together equal members that society.

Lewis shed some fans when he criticized women doing comedy – “I think that (a woman comedian) as a producing device that brings babies in the world,” he once said – and also when he lashed out at MDA critics. “You don’t desire to it is in pitied since you’re a cripple in a wheelchair? continue to be in her house!” he said in 2001 ~ above the “CBS Morning Show.” He later apologized.

once Lewis was one of America’s leading crate office attractions, doubters mocked him because that the broadness the his comedy – and also took more shots in ~ him when he ended up being a renowned figure in France. In 1984, the French forgive Lewis the Legion that Honor, the country’s greatest tribute.

The White House also paid respects come Lewis, with a statement released so late Sunday night.

“Jerry Lewis retained us all laughing because that over fifty percent a century, and his incredible charity job-related touched the resides of millions. Jerry lived the American Dream – that truly loved his country, and his nation loved him back. Our thoughts are with his family members today together we psychic the especially life of among our biggest entertainers and also humanitarians. Give thanks to you, Jerry. You will certainly be missed,” the White home statement said.

Lewis to be emotional, big-hearted, eccentric – once successful, he never wore a pair of socks twice – proud and also forever playing to the earlier row.

He seldom apologized because that it.

“Let me tell girlfriend that more than likely 50% the the film community plays a game and also does their thing due to the fact that they’re prominent and they’re making a many money. And also what they carry out is they offer up a piece of their soul … and for them, lock comfortable, and also they feeling that’s fine,” he told glossesweb.com’s Larry King in 2000. “It was never fine for me and also I wouldn’t walk there. I told (legendary Hollywood gossip columnist) Louella Parsons I assumed she was a fat pig, because I believed she was. I had an opinion.”

The dispute Lewis stirred up end the year did little to dampen his peers’ and also successors’ appreciation of his art. Several celebrities took to social media to share their sadness end his passing.

Comedian Jon Lovitz called Lewis one “amazing talent,” when “Star Trek” actor George Takei thanked him for “the laughs and also the feels.”

Jerry Lewis! Oy! an additional comic legend gone. What an impressive talent and also philanthropist. A long, well live life!#RIPJerryLewis

— Jon Lovitz (
realjonlovitz) august 20, 2017

We have actually lost a an excellent comedian and also even higher heart. Thank you for the laughs and the feels, Jerry Lewis. Https://t.co/vdYCfd7atJ

— George Takei (
GeorgeTakei) august 20, 2017

“I sincerely expect his afterlife is a warm, peaceful… …haven,” actor Patton Oswalt wrote.

Jerry Lewis passed today,millions about the world loved him,millions of kids he helped w/his telethons. R.I.P. &condolences 2 his family

— Whoopi Goldberg (
WhoopiGoldberg) respectable 20, 2017

Jerry Lewis has actually passed on. I sincerely hope his afterlife is a warm, peaceful......haven.

— Patton Oswalt (
pattonoswalt) august 20, 2017

wrote Public adversary frontman chuck D: “Earth is much less funny today.”

Jerry Lewis passes today. HipHop had actually a dance named after him. Last time i performed top top
MrChuckD) august 20, 2017

A lonely boy

Joseph Levitch – he readjusted the surname to Lewis together a teens – was born in Newark, new Jersey, on march 16, 1926. To chat ran in the family: His father was a vaudeville performer, his mom a piano player. Lewis periodically performed v his parents, and also by the moment he to be a teenager he had developed his very own act. He was a constant in brand-new York’s Catskill hill resorts, renowned summertime retreats because that area Jews.


however Lewis was additionally a lonely boy, basically raised by his grandmother. Lewis said King the his comedy was rooted in hurt.

“I discovered (the comic) with pain. And the pain to be that ns couldn’t purchase milk favor the other children in institution at recess time,” he said.

he met Martin at a club in 1945 where the two were performing together soloists. The next year castle premiered as a duo in Atlantic City, new Jersey. According to show business lore, their first show flatlined and also the team to be warned by the club manager to enhance or it is in fired. For the 2nd show, the two went wild through a no-holds-barred mix the comedy and also music. It to be a hit.

"He listed belly laughs...he just had that spark that genius," states actress Carol Burnett that Jerry Lewis https://t.co/1aK5FT8wJa

— glossesweb.com Newsroom (
glossesweb.comnewsroom) respectable 20, 2017

Within four years, they to be headlining and also breaking documents at brand-new York’s Copacabana club. Lewis later on wrote that they set off Beatlemania-type reactions amongst fans – specifically female fans – long prior to the term Beatlemania to be coined.

Martin play the romantic, crooning straight man, and Lewis was the anything-for-a-laugh comedian the chaos. (Some observers called them “the body organ grinder and also the monkey.”) The act often featured a insignificant of martin chasing Lewis around the stage. They appeared on the very an initial “Ed Sullivan Show” (then dubbed “Toast the the Town”) and shrewdly negotiated regulate of their various appearances, earning castle millions.

however over the course of a te – a duration that contained 17 movies, start with 1949’s “My girlfriend Irma” – the two grew apart. Toward the end, Martin called Lewis he to be “nothing come me but a disagreement sign.” Martin’s last performance with Lewis – likewise at the Copa – to be on July 25, 1956.

huge life post-Martin


*

Jerry Lewis, the slapstick-loving comedian, put in order filmmaker and also generous fundraiser because that the Muscular Dystrophy Association, passed away August 20 after a brief illness, claimed his publicist, Candi Cazau. He to be 91.
*

Lewis monkeys roughly with Pierre, a 5-year-old chimpanzee, in 1950, throughout Lewis" at an early stage Hollywood days.
*

Lewis joined pressures with singer Dean boy name in 1946 and also they came to be a hugely renowned duo. Martin and also Lewis were comedy partners because that 10 years.
*

Martin, center, kisses actress Denise Darcel, as Lewis feigns irritation. The pair were at a golf event in 1953 in Eastchester, brand-new York.
Lewis and Martin parted much less than amicably in 1956. Both had long and successful careers after your breakup.
In 1960, Lewis starred in and directed "The Bellboy," a silent-film-style story of pratfalls and also adventures.
Lewis" movie heyday was the "60s. Here, that stars with Susan Oliver in 1964"s "The Disorderly Orderly."


See more: Tattoo Aftercare Tips: How To Care For A New Tattoo On Your Arm

Lewis and also his wife, Patti, song in an impromptu new York performance in 1955. They divorce in 1982.