Jerry Lewis facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Lewis in the 1960s
March 16, 1926
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cardiovascular disease|
|Resting place||Cremated, ashes given to family|
(m. 1944; div. 1980)
SanDee Pitnick (m. 1983)
|Children||7, including Gary Lewis|
Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch, March 16, 1926 – August 20, 2017) was an American comedian, actor, singer, humanitarian, film director, film producer, screenwriter and author. He was known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio and was nicknamed the "King of Comedy". Lewis was one-half of the hit popular comedy duo Martin and Lewis with singer Dean Martin from 1946 to 1956.
After the team split, he became a director and solo star in motion pictures, made appearances in nightclubs, on television shows, in concerts and musicals and sang in music albums and recordings. Outside of his career, Lewis supported fundraising for muscular dystrophy research, serving for 60 years as spokesman for and national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and had also hosted and emceed the live Labor Day weekend broadcast of The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon for 44 years.
One of the most successful performers in show business, with worldwide box office receipts of his films in excess of $800 million, Lewis received global acclaim for his unique ability and style with both comedy and drama. As part of Martin and Lewis and as a solo actor, he was voted Hollywood’s top box-office from 1951 to 1965, in later years as the sole comedian.
Life and career
Lewis was born in Newark, New Jersey, he started performing at age five and would often perform alongside his parents in the Catskill Mountains in New York. He was a "character" even in his teenage years, pulling pranks in his neighborhood including sneaking into kitchens to steal fried chicken and pies. He dropped out of Irvington High School in the tenth grade. During World War II, he was rejected for military service because of a heart murmur.
Lewis first became famous as part of Martin & Lewis, working with singer Dean Martin. They worked together for ten years. They appeared on stage, radio and television, and in movies. The Martin and Lewis films were reliable financial successes for Paramount, and hugely popular with audiences.
The partnership ended with their final nightclub act on July 24, 1956 (the team’s 10th anniversary of their debut as a duo). Both Martin and Lewis went on to highly successful solo careers, and neither would comment on the split nor consider a reunion. However, they would occasionally be seen at the same public events.
Lewis directed of many of his movies. He was the first director to use video cameras with movie cameras, to help with filming scenes. Film takes time to process, but videotape can be played back right away, saving time and work if a scene needs to be redone. Other directors soon started using his technique, and it is still used today.
During the 1970s, Lewis' movies became less popular. He moved away from acting and directing. In the 1990s, he returned to performing onstage. He continued to perform during the 2000s.
Widely known as a comic genius, Lewis influenced generations of comedians, comedy writers, performers and filmmakers. Often regarded as the bridge from Vaudeville to modern comedy. Jerry Lewis was the most profoundly creative comedian of his generation and arguably one of the two or three most influential comedians born anywhere in this century.
Lewis’ comedy style was physically uninhibited and expressive. He was known especially for his distinctive voice, facial expressions and physical stunts. His improvisations and ad-libbing, especially in nightclubs and early television, were revolutionary among performers. He had a raw, edgy energy that would distinguish him within the comedy landscape.
Martin and Lewis films
|1949||My Friend Irma||Seymour|
|1950||My Friend Irma Goes West||Seymour|
|1950||At War with the Army||PFC Alvin Korwin|
|1951||That's My Boy||'Junior' Jackson|
|1952||Sailor Beware||Melvin Jones|
|1952||Jumping Jacks||Hap Smith|
|1952||Road to Bali||'Woman' in Lala's Dream||Cameo|
|1952||The Stooge||Theodore Rogers||Also uncredited writer|
|1953||Scared Stiff||Myron Mertz|
|1953||The Caddy||Harvey Miller, Jr.|
|1953||Money from Home||Virgil Yokum|
|1954||Living It Up||Homer Flagg|
|1954||3 Ring Circus||Jerome F. Hotchkiss|
|1955||You're Never Too Young||Wilbur Hoolick|
|1955||Artists and Models||Eugene Fullstack|
|1956||Pardners||Wade Kingsley Sr/Wade Kingsley Jr.|
|1956||Hollywood or Bust||Malcolm Smith|
Jerry Lewis films
|1957||The Delicate Delinquent||Sidney L. Pythias||Also producer|
|1957||The Sad Sack||Private Meredith Bixby|
|1958||Rock-A-Bye Baby||Clayton Poole||Also producer|
|1958||The Geisha Boy||Gilbert Wooley||Also producer|
|1959||Don't Give Up the Ship||John Paul Steckler I, IV, and VII|
|1959||Li'l Abner||Itchy McRabbit||Cameo|
|1960||Visit to a Small Planet||Kreton|
|1960||The Bellboy||Stanley / Himself||Also director, writer and producer|
|1961||The Ladies Man||Herbert H. Heebert / Mama Heebert||Also director, writer and producer|
|1961||The Errand Boy||Morty S. Tashman||Also director and writer|
|1962||It's Only Money||Lester March|
|1963||The Nutty Professor||Professor Julius Kelp / Buddy Love / Baby Kelp||Also director and writer|
|1963||It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World||Man Who Runs Over Hat||Cameo|
|1963||Who's Minding the Store?||Norman Phiffier|
|1964||The Patsy||Stanley Belt / Singers of the Trio||Also director and writer|
|1964||The Disorderly Orderly||Jerome Littlefield||Also executive producer|
|1965||The Family Jewels||Willard Woodward / James Peyton / Everett Peyton / Julius Peyton / Capt. Eddie Peyton / Skylock Peyton / Bugsy Peyton||Also director, writer and producer|
|1965||Boeing Boeing||Robert Reed|
|1966||Three on a Couch||Christopher Pride / Warren / Ringo Raintree / Rutherford / Heather||Also director and producer|
|1966||Way...Way Out||Pete Mattermore|
|1967||The Big Mouth||Gerald Clamson / Syd Valentine||Also director and producer|
|1968||Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River||George Lester|
|1969||Hook, Line & Sinker||Peter Ingersoll / Fred Dobbs||Also producer|
|1970||One More Time||Offscreen voice of the bandleader||Also director, writer and producer|
|1970||Which Way to the Front?||Brendon Byers III||Also director and producer|
|1972||The Day the Clown Cried||Helmut Doork||Also director and writer; uncompleted/unreleased|
|1980||Hardly Working||Bo Hooper||Also director and writer|
|1982||Slapstick of Another Kind||Wilbur Swain / Caleb Swain|
|1982||The King of Comedy||Jerry Langford|
|1983||Cracking Up||Warren Nefron / Dr. Perks||Also director and writer|
|1984||Retenez Moi...Ou Je Fais Un Malheur||Jerry Logan|
|1984||Par où t'es rentré ? On t'a pas vu sortir||Clovis Blaireau|
|1987||Fight For Life||Dr. Bernard Abrams||Television film|
|1992||Mr. Saturday Night||Guest||Cameo|
|1993||Arizona Dream||Leo Sweetie|
|1995||Funny Bones||George Fawkes|
|2008||The Nutty Professor||Professor Julius Kelp / Buddy Love (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2010||Curious George 2: Follow That Monkey!||Stationmaster (voice)||Direct-to-DVD|
|2011||Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis||Himself||Documentary; also produced|
|2013||Até que a Sorte nos Separe 2||Bellboy|
|2016||The Trust||Stone's Father|
|2016||Max Rose||Max Rose|
Images for kids
Jerry Lewis Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.