A consummate entertainer and world-renowned humanitarian, Jerry Lewis was not just a cultural icon in the U.S. and France, he was one of “The Most Recognized Personalities on the Planet,” named so by Newsweek magazine. He was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
One of the most successful performers in show business history—with worldwide box office receipts in excess of $800 million (when most tickets were sold for 25-50 cents)—Jerry received global acclaim for his groundbreaking comedy. He has been said to carry the torch lit by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, which has earned him the moniker “The King of Comedy.”
As the top box office star in the world from 1952-1956 with Dean Martin, and from 1957-1964 as a solo artist, Jerry’s brand of comedy has influenced generations. Celebrated for his groundbreaking physical comedy, “Jerry went back to the silent era and brought visual sight gags back to the American movie theaters,” said Steven Spielberg, who once attended a class in film direction taught by “Professor” Lewis at the University of Southern California.
As well as being an entertainer, “Jerry Lewis was a major innovator in motion pictures,” stated director, Francis Ford Coppola. “His invention of putting a video camera next to the motion picture camera so he could play it back and direct himself, has been used for decades by every director in the movie industry. I watched him on the set of The Ladies Man in 1961, and was amazed by his groundbreaking innovation, the Video Assist.”