Jerry Lewis: Comic Legend And Muscular Dystrophy Fundraiser Dead at 91

September 7, 2017 - By 

The King of Comedy and The Nutty Professor passed away on Sunday morning in Las Vegas, his agent reports. Many around the world are mourning the legend himself, Jerry Lewis.

According to the U.K.’s The Telegraph, the famous comedian was 91 and died this morning at his home.

Jerry Lewis was not only revered for his comic genius and acting talent but also as a humanitarian and the founder of television’s annual Labor Day weekend muscular dystrophy telethon. The fundraising shows began in the 1960s, and Lewis hosted them all until giving up the honor in 2011.

Since his reign at the helm of the telethon all those years, more than $2.45 billion was raised for muscular dystrophy, a genetic condition that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. It is more common among males than females.

For example, in the year 2007, the numbers show that 349 out of 2.37 million males aged 5-24 years were reported to have a form of muscular dystrophy in the United States.

Jerry Lewis starred in 50 movies and even did a stint on Broadway. Older fans recall Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin as the ultimate comic pair in entertaining folks during nightclub routines, on the silver screen and on television. The hilarious twosome debuted at Atlantic City’s 500 Club on July 25, 1946; they were geniuses at slapstick and delivering vaudeville jokes. The funny men starred in 14 movies together.

The comedy team continued for ten years to the day and then split. Jerry Lewis was becoming a bigger celebrity talent than Dean Martin, and the tension was high. Martin was having a tough time dealing with Lewis’ superstar popularity. That caused a rift, and the pair did not speak to each other for about 20 years but then made up, with Lewis regretting their long, private silence.

Jerry Lewis came back to the silver screen at age 90 in 2016, starring in the film “Max Rose.” He plays the role of a widower who was married to his wife Eva for 65 years.

Upon her death, Max, a jazz pianist, discovers that his beloved wife was having an affair. He embarks on a journey to search for Eva’s secret lover.

Movie critics raved about Lewis’ talent in “Max Rose” as a formidable dramatic actor and that he had star power beyond his famous comedic credentials.

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