God hadn't made me handsome, but he'd given me something I always felt: funny bones
Rubber faced and squeaky voiced, entertainer Jerry Lewis was a master of slapstick comedy.
Lewis – who was born Joseph Levitch in New Jersey to a family of vaudeville entertainers – was particularly famous for his partnership with Dean Martin. The stars appeared in 16 films together, before the two suddenly fell out. After twenty years, mutual friend Frank Sinatra got the two men talking again.
Lewis appeared in many films without Martin too, including the original version of The Nutty Professor later remade by Eddie Murphy. His work was especially appreciated in France, where he was hailed by fans as Le Roi du Crazy. Elsewhere, he was nicknamed the King of Comedy.
Later on in his career, his sobriquet was reflected in the title role of a film: Lewis received great acclaim for his role as a kidnapped comedian in Martin Scorsese’s 1982 film, The King of Comedy.
Perhaps Lewis’s most enduring legacy, however, is the $1.6 billion he raised for muscular dystrophy charities, mostly through a series of famous telethons.