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Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch; March 16, 1926 – August 20, 2017) was an American comedian, actor, and filmmaker, noted for the wacky style of his comedy and, later on, for his long-running annual Labor Day telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Lewis is generally considered to have been at his peak in The '50s (when he worked with Dean Martin as one half of Martin and Lewis) and The '60s. He's also the Trope Maker for a lot of things.

At the height of his solo career, he wielded considerable control over his projects and became respected as an auteur who wrote, directed, and starred in his own material to keep true to his own vision. As an extension of this, he became a pioneer in the use of video assist on film sets because he needed to review his performances immediately rather than wait for dailies to be developed and screened the next day.

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Not to be mistaken for Jerry Lee Lewis, though he did make some recordings as a singer (including a pair of non-comedic albums of pop standards), and his son Gary enjoyed success in the music world as frontman for the '60s pop/rock group Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

He passed away at age 91 on August 20, 2017, the same day as fellow comedy legend Dick Gregory.


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And no, he was never Vice-President of the United States.
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