Martin Scorsese Remembers Jerry Lewis: "He Was a Great Artist"

Lewis starred in the director's 1983 film 'The King of Comedy.'

Martin Scorsese, who directed the 1983 film The King of Comedy, which starred Jerry Lewis, who died Sunday, remembered the star by saying: "Jerry Lewis was a master. He was a great entertainer. He was a great artist. And he was a remarkable man." 

Scorsese cast Lewis as talk show host Jerry Langford in the black comedy. It was an unusual part for the star, since the role was more dramatic than comic. In the film, Robert De Niro plays Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring stand-up comic who is obsessed with Langford and is convinced he deserves a spot on Langford’s show.

After Pupkin tracks Langford down at the talk show host’s home and is angrily rebuffed, he hatches a plot with a fellow stalker, played by Sandra Bernhard, to kidnap Langford, and, as part the ransom, Pupkin is allowed to appear on Langford’s show.

The King of Comedy opened the Cannes Film Festival in 1983, and New York Times critic Vincent Canby praised Lewis for playing his part, which also included aspects of Johnny Carson and Bob Hope, with “brilliant solemnity.”

Scorsese added in his statement: "I had the honor of working with him, and it was an experience I'll always treasure. He was, truly, one of our greats."