Remembering Jerry Lewis, Complicated Clown

The Post remembers Jerry Lewis and shares a revealing 1963 article about the comedian and philanthropist.

Jerry Lewis (Shutterstock)

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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.

Click to read the October 12, 1963 article by Edward Linn, “The Search for Jerry Lewis.”

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  1. Jerry Lewis was a great entertainer, comedian, business man and humanitarian all rolled into one. There was no one like him ever before, and there never will be again.

    Although we’re sad at his passing, it’s important to remember he was born at the right time (1926) to have been able to do all the things he was able to do, with the right opportunities coming along when they did, tailor made just for him—and us!

    My instincts tell me Jerry would tell us not to be sad, but to watch ‘The Nutty Professor’ or the ‘Disorderly Orderly’ for some laughs. There isn’t much to laugh or smile about anymore, but if anyone can get you to, he can. Picture the bowl haircut, buck teeth, the voices he made and more, and try not to laugh. Now go to YouTube and laugh with Jerry in his mid-century classics!


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