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The world is a gloomier place today following the death of comedy legend Jerry Lewis, who yesterday died at the age of 91 at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. A master showman whose genius extended far into the worlds of comedy, film, and philanthropy, Lewis’ career began at the age of 5 when he was tapped to perform alongside his parents; by 15, he’d already mastered his own comedy routines and by 19, a chance meeting with singer Dean Martin sent him on a collision course with fame beyond his wildest dreams as one half of the most successful comedy duo in history.
After Martin and Lewis’ famed 1956 split ended their decade long run of box office hits and television shows, Lewis embarked on a solo career that proved to be as impressive – if not more so – than that of his time with Martin and Lewis, dominating the box office once again with hits like Rock-A-Bye Baby, The Ladies’ Man, The Errand Boy and The Nutty Professor.
His fascination with film saw him fully immersed in his craft, pioneering the technique of using video cameras and multiple closed circuit monitors that allowed him to view his performances instantly, at one point even teaching a class in film directing at USC to students that at one time included Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
Above all else, Jerry Lewis was an ardent philanthropist whose fierce dedication to finding a cure for Muscular Dystrophy led to a decades long partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, raising over $2.6 billion dollars over the course of nearly half a century through his famed telethons.
Brilliant beyond belief and missed beyond measure, Jerry Lewis leaves behind a wife, six children, and a legacy as one of the funniest, most fiercely gifted men to walk the earth. Thank you for the laughs!