The Latest: White House praises Lewis for comedy, charity
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Latest on the death of comedian and filmmaker Jerry Lewis (all times local):
The White House is remembering the late comedian Jerry Lewis as a man who “kept us all laughing for over half a century” and touched the lives of millions with his charity work.
The 91-year-old Lewis died Sunday in Las Vegas. Besides his movie and TV work, he was closely identified with the annual telethon to raise money for muscular dystrophy research.
In a statement Sunday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Lewis “lived the American dream” and that “he truly loved his country, and his country loved him back.”
Sanders says, “Our thoughts are with his family today as we remember the extraordinary life of one of our greatest entertainers and humanitarians.”
The star and director of “The King of Comedy,” a 1982 film featuring Jerry Lewis’ much-hailed performance as a kidnapped TV talk show host, praised Lewis in separate statements.
Director Martin Scorsese called Lewis “a master.”
“He was a giant. He was an innovator. He was a great entertainer. He was a great artist. And he was a remarkable man. I had the honor of working with him, and it was an experience I’ll always treasure. He was, truly, one of our greats,” Scorsese said.
Actor Robert DeNiro said Lewis “was a friend.”
“I was fortunate to have seen him a few times over the past couple of years. Even at 91, he didn’t miss a beat. Or a punchline. You’ll be missed,” DeNiro said.
France’s culture minister is paying homage to the “laughter genius” Jerry Lewis, who enjoyed unusual success with French audiences.
Actor Robert DeNiro
In a statement Sunday, Francois Nyssen praised “the extraordinary inventiveness of his game, his comic force” as well as his dramatic roles such as in “King of Comedy.”
Lewis’ goofy antics marked a sharp contrast with the gilded halls where he was inducted into France’s Legion of Honor —wearing slippers — and with the art-house crowds in Paris and Cannes.
Yet while noting that he “wasn’t always in favor with American critics,” Nyssen said the French cinema world “paid him the homage he deserved.”
“He made people laugh, he made people happy,” Nyssen said. “France ... will remember his life, his silhouette, his voice, his legendary comedy.”
Jerry Lewis, the rubber-faced comedian and director whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died.
Publicist Candi Cazau says Lewis passed away Sunday morning of natural causes at age 91 in Las Vegas with his family by his side.
Lewis first became a star in a duo with Dean Martin, entertaining audiences in nightclubs, on television and in the movies. After their split in 1956, he starred in and directed a slew of hit films such as “The Nutty Professor.”
Later generations knew him primarily as the tireless conductor of the Labor Day weekend telethons to raise funds for victims of muscular dystrophy. Lewis retired from making movies in 1995, but returned as star of the 2016 drama “Max Rose.”