Comedy Legend and Longtime Las Vegas Resident Jerry Lewis Dies at 91

Jerry Lewis was a beloved comedy legend to legions of French people, a hero in the fight against muscular dystrophy, a longtime resident of Las Vegas and sort of a jerk.

Jerry Lewis died at age 91 in Las Vegas on Aug. 20, 2017.

When someone passes away, of course, it’s best to focus on their best qualities.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons Jerry Lewis hosted raised billions, with a “b,” for research. It’s estimated that during his time working on behalf of the MDA, from 1966 to 2009. his telethons collected $2.6 billion.

Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis was many things to many people, but one thing he wasn’t was forgettable. Thanks to Tom Donoghue for the pic.

His success in films and television is undeniable, and those are how we’d like to remember Jerry Lewis. Inspired. Uninhibited. Mischievous. A comedic force of nature.

Lewis’ break-up with Dean Martin in 1956, and their strained reunion at the hands of Frank Sinatra on the 1976 MDA telethon, is deeply woven into the fabric of our culture.

Lewis performed in Las Vegas frequently during the course of his 60-plus year career, and he called Las Vegas home.

The comedian had his detractors, many of whom disliked his controversial opinions about gender, politics and other topics, but he managed to outlive many of them.

As is customary with entertainers of his stature, numerous Las Vegas resorts on The Strip paid tribute to Jerry Lewis on their marquees at 7:49 p.m. on Aug. 21. That specific time was chosen for the tribute because 7:49 is 19:49 in military time, and 1949 was the year Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis first came to Las Vegas.

Jerry Lewis had a long history of medical problems, and he died of ischemic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition.

Ironic, because it’s impossible to look at his decades of charity and not come to the conclusion his was larger than most.

11 thoughts on “Comedy Legend and Longtime Las Vegas Resident Jerry Lewis Dies at 91

      1. RustyHammer

        So you don’t like compliments about your content?

        You’re the first blogger I know who doesn’t like positive feedback. I’ve seen it all.

        Reply
    1. Rooster

      Dude. Seriously. Give it a rest. The pizza thing had run its course. Scott’s been more than patient with this.

      Reply
  1. John Curtas

    Yay…..for controversial content! Got Get ’em, Scott!
    And yes, JL sucked in about a hundred different ways…

    Reply
  2. JeffinOKC

    Can’t say I was a big fan of Jerry Lewis. But….the telethon from Las Vegas was one of the biggest things that started and fueled my Vegas obsession (Ocean’s 11 being the other). A kid born in 1958, living in a 3 channel town (and they were all 3 channel towns) could stay up past the normal 1 AM sign off and see real entertainers working ALL NIGHT! Doing stuff that middle America only saw occasionally. TV 24 hours!
    I admit I’m nerdy enough that I recall watching the telethon live when Dean and Jerry reunited in 1976. In my mind it was in the early afternoon on Sunday. A normal 18 year old shoulda been out of the house and living life at that time of day, IMO.

    Reply
    1. Bouldersteve

      I remember the Dean Martin appearance also. Frank Sinatra was on stage with Jerry and to told him he brought a friend with him and out walks Dean. The audience went nuts

      Reply
  3. Funkhouser

    Jerry Lewis is steeped in Las Vegas history and 20th century culture. Lover or hate the guy you can’t diminish his place in history. While his tenure on this earth is lost on the millennial generation I can remember as a kid watching his old comedies and the annual telethons. Like most of his generation he was opinionated and his views ran against today culture, hell if John Wayne was alive today he would be run out of town for past comments. Even with his falling out with Dean Martin, the guy always spoke highly of Martin, and thought of him as his lifelong friend. RIP Jerry you definitely laid your mark on history.

    Reply
  4. Photoncounter

    Jerry Lewis had his flaws but was funny! Today’s comedians have flaws and aren’t. Rest well my friend, you put laughter into the hearts of millions!

    Reply

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