This is absolutely devastating. Comedy legend Jerry Lewis died at the age of 91 this morning, Aug. 20, at his home in Las Vegas. The world is going to be just a little bit darker now that the original ‘Nutty Professor’ star is no longer with us.
Comedic genius Jerry Lewis has died at the age of 91. He passed away at 9:15 a.m. today, Aug. 20, at his home in Las Vegas, according to The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s John Katsilometes. Jerry wowed fans of all ages for decades with his hilarious acts, including his performance in the original Nutty Professor. His cause of death is currently unknown, though he suffered from several health issues in recent years. In 1983, he underwent open-heart surgery and had surgery for prostate cancer just nine years later. In 2006 he had a heart attack and had struggled with pulmonary fibrosis for several years. Amid the news of the icon’s death, illusionist Penn Jillette tweeted, “Jerry Lewis just died. When I met him, I fell apart, just sobbed. I guess it’s time for that again.” Tons of other celebrities soon reacted, expressing the exact same sense of loss.
The hilarious star rose to prominence as part of a comedy duo with iconic singer Dean Martin in the 1950s. The two famously took the stage at nightclubs all over Tinseltown and hit the airwaves in radio programs that brought joy to families everywhere due to their perfect comedic timing. Though the two had a falling out, their legendary bits will live on forever. Jerry went on to become one of Hollywood’s greatest stars. The comedian, film director, singer, producer and screenwriter, helped create some of the most memorable movies in the history of film – including The King of Comedy, The Bellboy and more. Click here to see pics of Jerry.
Jerry was born on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey. He is survived by his wife of over 30 years, SanDee Pitnick, his six living sons (one of his sons, Joseph Lewis, died in 2009) and one daughter. Jerry was previously married to Patti Palmer from 1944-1980. He will also be remembered for his very generous heart and his charitable acts, including hosting a famous Labor Day telethon that raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He also received many humanitarian and lifetime achievement awards.
Last year Jerry gave what is now know considered to be one of the most uncomfortable interviews — ever. But the ordeal ended up being totally perfect and praised by the comedic community. “As awkward and funny — and it’s pretty funny — as the interview is, it weirdly proves the point of the entire package: 90-year-old Jerry Lewis is vital and completely engaged,” Andy Lewis, who did the interview for The Hollywood Reporter, wrote. “He’s just engaged — almost happily so — in being difficult.” You can see the interview in the video below.
HollywoodLifers, leave your condolences for Jerry’s family and friends below.