Jerry Lewis, entertainment icon and longtime host of Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons, dead at 91
Love or hate Jerry Lewis, you knew he was in the room.
Lewis, who died Sunday at 91, turned himself into an American entertainment institution, first as a maniacal slapstick comedian and then as the 45-year host of tearjerking annual TV telethons that raised a staggering $2.6 billion for muscular dystrophy research.
A statement from Lewis’ family confirmed the comedian “passed peacefully at home of natural causes with his loving family at his side” in Las Vegas.
The Friars Club mourned the loss, saying it was “deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved abbot.”
Inside the comedy world, Lewis was revered as a genius. The 2011 Lewis documentary “Method to the Madness” featured comedians from Billy Crystal to Eddie Murphy to Chevy Chase praising his singular style of comic lunacy and pathos.
“I get paid,” Lewis once said, “for what most kids get punished for.”
“If you don’t get Jerry Lewis,” Jerry Seinfeld said in “Method,” “you don’t understand comedy.”
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