Comedian, actor, singer, author, philanthropist, and filmmaker Jerry Lewis passed away at age 91 on August 20. According to the New York Times, the star of the stage and screen died at his home in Las Vegas.
Lewis appeared on Broadway, on tour and in the U.K. runs of Damn Yankees in 1995, as well as the Broadway production of Jerry Lewis at The Palace in 1953.
His film credits as a performer, director, writer, and producer include The Bell Boy, The Ladies Man, It's Only Money, The Delicate Delinquent, Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy, and many more. He continued to act late into his career; his last role was in the 2016 action film The Trust, at age 90.
Lewis was also an acclaimed author, having penned three best sellers: The Total Filmmaker, a guide for directors; as well as the memoirs Jerry Lewis: In Person, and Dean & Me: A Love Story.
His humanitarian efforts for The Muscular Dystrophy Association—particularly his annual Telethons, which grossed over $2 billion from 1966–2014—saw him receive numerous accolades throughout his life, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. In 2009 Lewis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Academy Award, awarded by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Though he didn’t return to the Broadway stage after Damn Yankees, he directed the musical stage adaptation of The Nutty Professor in 2012, a show with Broadway aims. The Rupert Holmes-Marvin Hamlisch musical, based on Lewis’ 1963 film, premiered in Nashville, Tennessee in 2012. Hamlisch died suddenly during the run, and the production did not transfer to Broadway.
Lewis, whose career began with a nightclub act, returned to the stage as an octogenarian to perform his solo show An Evening with Jerry Lewis. The show, which toured throughout the U.S., weaved personal stories from his eight-decade career with video and musical performances.
Stars of the stage and screen have taken to twitter to pay tribute to the legendary Lewis. See some of their reactions below:
Jerry Lewis, a complicated soul who made the whole world laugh has died.— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis passed today,millions around the world loved him,millions of kids he helped w/his telethons. R.I.P. &condolences 2 his family— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 20, 2017
We have lost a great comedian and even greater heart. Thank you for the laughs and the feels, Jerry Lewis. https://t.co/vdYCfd7atJ— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 20, 2017