LAS VEGAS, NV — Entertainment icon Jerry Lewis has died, the famous comedian’s spokesperson has confirmed.
“He passed away at 9:30 this morning at home, peacefully with family and close friends by his side after a brief illness. They are devastated,” Candi Cazau said in a statement.
He was 91.
Lewis, best known for his quintessential roles in comedies such as “The Bellboy” (1960) and “The Nutty Professor” (1963), is also know for the millions of dollars he raised millions for charities and as chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The “King of Comedy” hosted a live Labor Day broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 44 years.
Lewis “had a heart of gold,” said Cazau. “He still had things he wanted to do. We had performance dates set up for him in the future. He was always like the energizer bunny.”
“He had a great life. He was a huge inspiration to so many people. It’s a huge loss,” she added.
Lewis first gained fame for his one of a kind comedy-and-music act with singer Dean Martin. When the pair parted ways in the mid-1950s, Lewis went solo where he went on to legendary status in the industry.
News of Lewis’ passing spread like wild fire on social media and celebrities and fans alike were quick to share their shock and grief.
“Jerry Lewis! Oy! Another comic legend gone. What an amazing talent and philanthropist. A long, well lived life!#RIPJerryLewis,” tweeted SNL alumni John Lovitz.
“Jerry Lewis loved his country & helped it enormously. I occasionally spoke with him about policy-he was on it, very engaged despite his age,” tweeted conservative news personality Bill O’Reilly.
“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,” tweeted fellow Hollywood icon Rose Marie.
“I believe, in my own way, that I say something on film. I’m getting to those who probably don’t have the mentality to understand what … ‘A Man for All Seasons’ is all about, plus many who did understand it,” Lewis wrote in his 1971 memoir, “The Total Film-Maker”. “I am not ashamed or embarrassed at how seemingly trite or saccharine something in my films will sound. I really do make films for my great-great-grandchildren and not for my fellows at the Screen Directors Guild or for the critics.”
Married twice, Lewis leaves behind a wife, SanDee Pitnick, and 6 children, including musician Gary Lewis. His son Joseph died in 2009.
Funeral arrangements are pending.