Jerry Lewis Fast Facts

Here's a look at the life of comedian and actor Jerry Lewi...

Posted: Feb. 28, 2018 8:56 AM
Updated: Feb. 28, 2018 1:47 PM

Here's a look at the life of comedian and actor Jerry Lewis.

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Personal: Birth date: March 16, 1926

Death date: August 20, 2017

Birth place: Newark, New Jersey

Birth name: Joseph Levitch

Father: Daniel Levitch (Danny Lewis - stage name), entertainer

Mother: Rae (Brodsky) Levitch (Rae Lewis - stage name), piano player

Marriages: Sandra (Pitnick) Lewis (February 13, 1983-August 20, 2017, his death); Patti Palmer (1944-1982, divorced)

Children: with Sandra Lewis: Danielle; with Patti Palmer: Joseph, Anthony, Christopher, Scott, Ronald and Gary

Other Facts: Made his debut at age five, singing "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" at a resort.

Was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1952, for Best Comedian.

Became a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the 1940s.

Often talked about himself in the third person.

Timeline: 1946-1956 - Partners with Dean Martin for nightclub acts, television appearances and 16 movies.

1963 - The film, "The Nutty Professor," in which Lewis acted and directed, is released.

1966 - Hosts his first televised Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Labor Day telethon. This becomes an annual event.

1967 - Teaches a graduate course in film at the University of Southern California.

1976 - Frank Sinatra orchestrates a surprise reunion between Lewis and Dean Martin on a MDA telethon.

1983 - The film "The King of Comedy," which features Lewis' first dramatic role, is released.

1984 - Inducted into the French Legion of Honor.

1995 - Makes his Broadway debut in "Damn Yankees."

1995 - Begins traveling to medical schools to present, with Dr. Clifford Kuhn, a seminar on laughter and healing.

September 2005 - Receives the Governors Award at the Creative Emmy Awards in recognition for his work on behalf of muscular dystrophy.

June 11, 2006 - Suffers a mild heart attack on a flight from New York to San Diego.

September 3, 2007 - In the 18th hour of the annual Labor Day Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy, Lewis uses an anti-gay slur while cracking jokes. He later apologizes in a written statement.

February 22, 2009 - Receives the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards ceremony.

May 16, 2011 - Announces his retirement as MDA telethon host.

August 3, 2011 - The MDA announces that Lewis is retiring as national chairman.

September 14, 2015 - The Library of Congress announces it has acquired Lewis' personal archive.

August 20, 2017 - Dies after a brief illness, according to his publicist.

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