Jerry Lewis (March 16, 1926 - August 20, 2017) was an American actor, comedian, filmmaker and host of the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. He was born Joseph Levitch to a Jewish family. His parents were also professionals in the entertainment world.
Lewis and singer Dean Martin together made a successful comedy team for 10 years, starting in 1946. They were a popular comedy duo and appeared together in 17 movies.
Working again as a solo performer, Lewis produced, directed and starred in several films. Audiences loved comedies such as The Bellboy, The Nutty Professor and The King of Comedy. Jerry's last picture was Funny Bones in 1995.
In 1967, Lewis taught a course in film direction at the University of Southern California. "The Total Film-Maker" was edited by Jerry and published by Random House in 1971; he also wrote Jerry Lewis: In Person and Dean & Me (A Love Story). A fact not widely known in the United States is that Jerry has won the "Best Director of the Year" award eight times in Europe since 1960. Jerry Lewis was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for his effort raising money to fight muscular dystrophy. From 1966 until 2010 Jerry Lewis has hosted the annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon which raised nearly $2.5B over the course of its run. Lewis also received the French Legion of Honor in 1984.
Jerry's children with Patti Palmer: Gary (1945), Ronald (1949), Scott (1956), Christopher (1957), Anthony (1959) and Joseph (1964) and with SanDee Pitnick a daughter Danielle (1992). At his death, he notably disinherited his children with Patti in his will, leaving his entire estate to SanDee and Danielle.
"People hate me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius."
"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again!"