Jerry Lewis, Legendary Comedian And Actor, Dies At 91

Sunday, August 20th 2017, 2:07 pm
By: News 9

Jerry Lewis, the veteran actor and comedian, has died, his publicist confirmed to CBS News. He was 91.

Lewis, who teamed up with Dean Martin in the 1950s, and later starred in "The Nutty Professor" and "The Bellboy," died of natural causes at his Las Vegas home on Sunday, his publicist, Candi Cazau, said in a statement.

Lewis was a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where he helped raise funding for neuromuscular disease research. He hosted an annual Labor Day telethon from 1966 to 2010, raising nearly $2.7 billion and earning himself a 1997 Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

The money led to longer life spans for those patients, but it didn't buy a cure. At times, Lewis could only watch as the disease claimed the lives of children.

"The days and hours I spent in hospital hallways waiting for the answer of this child -- was he going to live or die? And I took it very personal," Lewis told CBS News in 2016. "'How could he die? Look at the work I've done. And what did we do with all that money? Why don't we use it to help him?'"

"I could write a book on children's reactions to meeting their clown," he continued. "One child says to the coordinator, 'If I didn't get muscular dystrophy I'd a never met him!' And then these children look at you like you're some kind of god. I'm not a god; I just love people. And I love people that are well. I don't like to see someone sick."

This is a developing story and will be updated.