Jerry Lewis

Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis died Aug. 20 in Las Vegas at the age of 91.

The Clark County Nevada Coroner determined cardiac disease as the cause of death, the New York Daily News reports.

Lewis enjoyed an illustrious career over the span of seven decades as an actor, singer, producer, director, writer and humanitarian.

Known for his slapstick comedy in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Lewis became a star with his comedic partner and friend Dean Martin.

Their success as “Martin and Lewis” led to Lewis’ further stardom as a solo act in music, movies and television.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 16, 1926, Lewis came from a family of performers — his father a vaudeville entertainer and his mother a pianist.

Lewis began performing at the age of five alongside his parents throughout the Catskill Mountains in New York according to biography.com.

As a teenager, Lewis forged a career for himself as a comedian eventually teaming up with Martin in 1946.

The iconic duo quickly rose to national prominence as a popular nightclub act then becoming the stars of their own program.

In the course of their 10-year partnership they starred in dozens of movies and programs on network television.

After the two split up the act, their strained relationship kept them apart for decades until finally “water under the bridge” and family tragedy brought them back together for Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Telethon in 1976.

A true humanitarian, suffering from his own illnesses such as diabetes, prostate cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and heart disease, Lewis dedicated his life to fundraising for research for the MDA.

He served as the national chairman for 44 years before stepping down in 2011.

Starring in well over 50 movies and numerous TV shows throughout his career, Lewis helped build Hollywood, which remains evident in his several awards for lifetime achievement including from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

He also has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Survived by his second wife SanDee Pitnick, Lewis leaves six sons, one deceased, and a daughter to continue his legacy.

Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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