The Hollywood Reporter set out to interview 10 nonagenarians in the business — people in their 90s and beyond still vital and working — and nine of the interviews went great. One was a trainwreck.
I had a bad feeling about how the conversation with Jerry Lewis was going to go the second I walked into his Vegas house — the interview was scheduled for a few off days in his touring schedule — and saw him watching TV with his headphones on. He looked angry. I already knew Lewis' reputation for being difficult and acerbic with his audiences and in interviews. And he's a well-known control freak.
Throughout the photo shoot, Lewis complained about the amount of equipment in the house, the number of assistants and how the shots were set up. By the time we sat down for the interview about an hour later, Lewis had worked up a full head of steam, and it seemed like he was punishing THR by doing the interview but being as uncooperative as possible. As awkward and funny — and it's pretty funny — as the interview is, it weirdly proves the point of the entire package: 90-year-old Jerry Lewis is vital and completely engaged. He's just engaged — almost happily so — in being difficult.