We remember comedian and philanthropist Jerry Lewis, who passed away on August 20, 2017.
This Post article from 1963, “The Search for Jerry Lewis,” shows that Lewis was a complicated, fretful, driven man.
Lewis was aware of some critics’ distaste for his work, but he was far more concerned with pleasing his fans and his inner critic. He quipped, “I’ve never been able to get the best table at Sardi’s, but I’m kingpin at the Automat.”
Lewis’ generosity was legendary. As author Edward Lin noted, “Any of his crew can thrill him by coming to him with a personal problem, and if he can solve their problem with money, his whole day is made.” And of course, he hosted the annual 24-hour muscular dystrophy telethons for 44 years, raising $2.5 billion.
He was forever trying to improve on his past efforts, prompting his wife to comment, “He’ll never live to be as old as it takes to be half as perfect as he’d like.”
But by living 91 years, he had plenty of time to try.