Jerry Lewis, Dead at 91

The world mourns the passing of this legendary comedian, star.

I grew up watching his comedy shows in black and white and when they became color, I was right there too. He was a master at making us laugh. He was a genius and had his hand in many successes over the years on television. He will be missed.

Source: Variety

Jerry Lewis, the brash slapstick comic who teamed with Dean Martin in the 1950s and later starred in “The Nutty Professor” and “The Bellboy” before launching the Muscular Dystrophy telethon, has died in Las Vegas. He was 91.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes reported that he died at his home at 9:15 a.m. and his agent confirmed the news.

Over the past 10 years of his life, the cranky icon’s reputation soured as he was forced to apologize for making a gay slur on camera during the 2007 telethon, continued to make racist jokes into his ’90s, and didn’t hesitate to share his right-wing political views.

He appeared in a few later films such as Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” but Lewis was largely offscreen from the late ’60s on and was more active with his annual Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy telethon, for which he raised more than $2.45 billion before being relieved of his role as leader of the telethon in 2011.

He was born Joseph Levitch in Newark, N.J. Both his parents were in show business and, at the age of 5, Lewis made his debut at a Borscht Belt hotel singing “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?”

In 1972 he lent his name to a string of 200 movie theaters for Network Cinema Corp., which led to bankruptcy proceedings in 1974. His heavy schedule also brought him to the verge of a nervous breakdown, serious ulcer problems and painkiller drug dependency. In 1982 he had double-bypass heart surgery and gave up his four pack-a-day smoking habit.

In 2009, Lewis received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences’ Jean Hersholt Award for his charitable work. In May 2014, he added his footprints to those of other screen luminaries at the Chinese Theatre.

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Wayne Dupree

Wayne Dupree is owner and founder of WayneDupree.com. He was named to the 2017 Newsmax’s 50 Most Influential African-American Republicans. He served in the USAF between 1987-1995. He saw time in Operation Desert Storm/Shield and is the father of three. He is the host of the Wayne Dupree Show.

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