Hollywood Reacts to Jerry Lewis' Death
"Even at 91, he didn't miss a beat… Or a punchline. You'll be missed," said Robert De Niro in a statement.
Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis died Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas, publicist Candi Cazau confirmed. He was 91.
Lewis dominated show business with Dean Martin in the 1950s and became Paramount's biggest star in the 1960s which gave him creative freedom with the studio. He had memorable roles in classics including The Bellboy (1960) and The Nutty Professor (1963).
Lewis was also devoted to fighting against muscular dystrophy. He hosted an annual Labor Day telethon which raised almost $2.5 billion and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for his efforts.
Lewis' health issues consisted of open-heart surgery in 1983, surgery for prostate cancer in 1992, treatment for his dependence on prescription drugs in 2003, a heart attack in 2006 and a long bout with pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease.
"Jerry was a pioneer in comedy and film. And he was a friend," said Robert De Niro in a statement. "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."
The White House press secretary's office also issued a statement:
"Jerry Lewis kept us all laughing for over half a century, and his incredible charity work touched the lives of millions. Jerry lived the American Dream — he truly loved his country, and his country loved him back. Our thoughts are with his family today as we remember the extraordinary life of one of our greatest entertainers and humanitarians. Thank you, Jerry. You will be missed."
As news of his death spread on Sunday, other tributes flooded in from Hollywood via social media. See the posts below.
Jerry Lewis was a genius comedian, actor, director, inventor, humanitarian and, as a Las Vegan, what I miss most..https://t.co/R0uLkPOwyU— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) August 20, 2017
That fool was no dummy. Jerry Lewis was an undeniable genius an unfathomable blessing, comedy's absolute! I am because he was! ;^D pic.twitter.com/3Zdq9xhXlE— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis was a true movie legend and comedy pioneer. Rest in peace— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) August 20, 2017
It was incredible knowing & laughing with the Amazing Jerry Lewis! He'll keep'em laffin in the ever after!— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) August 20, 2017
Condolences to the family of Jerry Lewis. The world is a lot less funnier today.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis has passed on. I sincerely hope his afterlife is a warm, peaceful...— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) August 20, 2017
How did my life get good enough that Jerry Lewis would smile at me? And how sad to lose him. pic.twitter.com/taPhl1utzO— Penn Jillette (@pennjillette) August 20, 2017
My mentor & friend Jerry Lewis has passed away. A visionary. A pioneer in all forms of entertainment. A charitable human. A father.— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis, a complicated soul who made the whole world laugh has died.— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis was a comic and philanthropic icon. I send love to his family today.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) August 20, 2017
We have lost a great comedian and even greater heart. Thank you for the laughs and the feels, Jerry Lewis. https://t.co/vdYCfd7atJ— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) August 20, 2017
As a kid, I'm pretty sure I was the biggest Jerry Lewis fan in the world. Truly. R.I.P. Jerry Lewis.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) August 20, 2017
Oh NOOOOO!!! Jerry Lewis just died! Another comic legend has left us. Martin&Lewis were the Beatles of comedy! Nobody was EVER bigger!— Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) August 20, 2017
So saddened to learn of the passing of Jerry Lewis, a true comic icon. In Boston 1947 I roared at his and Dean's first ever performance— carl reiner (@carlreiner) August 20, 2017
I mourn the passing of my friend Jerry Lewis. He was the Friars Club's Abbott and I its Dean. He could always make me laugh. pic.twitter.com/aZ1ZmMM2Y5— Larry King (@kingsthings) August 20, 2017
#RIP Jerry Lewis. A Genius. A Legend. Thanks for all the laughs.— Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis loved his country & helped it enormously. I occasionally spoke with him about policy-he was on it, very engaged despite his age.— Bill O'Reilly (@billoreilly) August 20, 2017
Watching Jerry Lewis onscreen makes me laugh harder than almost anyone. His great contribution to cinema is undeniable. #RIP— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) August 20, 2017
Rest In Peace, Jerry Lewis. I loved your movies as much as France did. The Nutty Professor and Cinderfella will always be classics to me.— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) August 20, 2017
Dear Jerry— Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) August 20, 2017
Dad will be as happy to see you as I'm sad to see you go.
Give him one of your bear hugs for me. I'll always love you. pic.twitter.com/iImROGLKnl
#JerryLewis an iconic funny man &legendary performer-whose most noble achievement was the fortune he raised in annual Labor Day telethon RIP— Geraldo Rivera (@GeraldoRivera) August 20, 2017
Goodbye Jerry— Jeffrey Tambor (@jeffreytambor) August 20, 2017
You invented the whole thing
Thank you doesn't even get close
Jerry Lewis passed today,millions around the world loved him,millions of kids he helped w/his telethons. R.I.P. &condolences 2 his family— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis passes today. HipHop had a dance named after him. Last time I performed on @jimmyfallon He was there. Earth is less funny today— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis! Oy! Another comic legend gone. What an amazing talent and philanthropist. A long, well lived life!#RIPJerryLewis— Jon Lovitz (@realjonlovitz) August 20, 2017
Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis were two of the funniest, most legendary and prolific entertainers of our generation and I bow to their genius.— Margaret Cho (@margaretcho) August 20, 2017
From 3 on I cherish how this genius brought comfort to me with laughter and then support and friendship. Rip Jerry pic.twitter.com/Jfu2cXZEju— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) August 20, 2017
Jerry Lewis was an angel to me. Loved him & will never forget what he did for me during one of the worst times in my life. RIP, Love Roe pic.twitter.com/0OoQV4yaae— Rose Marie-Official (@RoseMarie4Real) August 20, 2017