Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy 84th Birthday Jerry Lewis!

Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, film producer, writer, film director and singer.

Jerry Lewis was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey. Jerry Lewis parents were Daniel Levitch (stage name of Danny Lewis), a Master of Ceremonies and vaudeville entertainer and Rachel Brodsky, a piano player.

When Jerry Lewis was five years old, he made his debut in New York's Borscht Circuit singing "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?" By the time he was fifteen, he had perfected a comic routine "Record Act" in which he exaggeratedly mimed the lyrics to songs on a phonograph.

In 1946, Jerry Lewis teamed with Dean Martin. Dean Martin served as straight man to Jerry Lewis's zany antics in the Martin and Lewis comedy team. They began in popular nightclubs, then had their own radio program, made numerous television appearances and then became popular in films.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis made 17 films together beginning with My Friend Irma (1949). A few of their films include At War with the Army (1950), Sailor Beware (1952), Jumping Jacks (1952), Scared Stiff (1953), Money From Home (1953), and Hollywood or Bust (1956).

After Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis comedy team ended in 1956, Jerry Lewis went on to a successful solo career.

Jerry Lewis starred in films such as Rock-A-Bye Baby (1958), The Bellboy (1960), The Ladies Man (1961), It's Only Money (1962), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Disorderly Orderly (1964), Three on a Couch (1966), Hook, Line, & Sinker (1969), Which Way to the Front? (1970), Cracking Up (1983) and Funny Bones (1995).

In 1995, Jerry Lewis won the Theatre World Special Award for his performance in the Broadway musical Damn Yankees.

Jerry Lewis made his directoral debutin How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border (1949). Jerry Lewis has also directed films such as The Ladies Man (1961), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Family Jewels (1965), The Big Mouth (1967), and The Day the Clown Cried (1972).

Jerry Lewis is also a successful writer. He has written screenplays for How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border (1949), The Bellboy (1960), The Nutty Professor (1963), The Patsy (1964) and Hardly Working (1980).

As a producer, Jerry Lewis produced such classic films as The Delicate Delinquent (1957), The Bellboy (1960), Three on a Couch (1966), and The Nutty Professor (1996).

Jerry Lewis has appeared on episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Mad About You, Wiseguy, The Red Skelton Show and Ben Casey.

In 1950, Jerry Lewis became the national chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), a position he still holds today. Beginning in 1966, Jerry Lewis has hosted the nationwide telethon it holds on Labor Day each year.

In 1997, Jerry Lewis was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

In 2009, Jerry Lewis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 81st Academy Awards for his work with MDA.

Jerry Lewis has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award, American Comedy Awards
(1997), Governors Award Primetime Emmy Awards (2005) and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures and television.

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