Friday, March 16, 2007
HAPPY 81ST BIRTHDAY TO THE AMAZING JERRY LEWIS
Today is the 81st birthday of a genuine clown and incredible funny man, Jerry Lewis. I have been watching Jerry for years and simply love (still) some of his most classic films including "Cinderfella" (with Ed Wynn as the Fairy Godfather) and "The Bell Boy" and yes "The Family Jewels" and "The King Of Comedy" And yes, I admit it: I cry during those telethons. We have all heard about the bad qualities of the man, but I look for the good of people-- and always will. Jerry was born in Newark, New Jersey to a Jewish family. His birth name was Joseph Levitch, though Shawn Levy's biography, "King of Comedy", claims this is untrue and that Lewis' name at birth was Jerome Levitch. His father was a vaudeville performer. He began in burlesque in 1942 at age 16 (if the birth year of 1926 is correct) and married two years later in 1944 at age 18. He gained initial fame with singer Dean Martin, who served as a straight man to Lewis's manic, zany antics as the Martin and Lewis comedy team. They distinguished themselves from the majority of comedy acts of the 1940s by relying on the interaction of the two comics instead of pre-planned skits. In the late 1940s, they quickly rose to national prominence, first with their popular nightclub act and then as film stars. Critics often found it difficult to describe their chaotic act beyond the laconic "Martin sings and Lewis clowns". They continued to perform in film and on television until their partnership ended in 1956 . Following their split, the two became involved in a well-publicized and long-running feud that never truly ended; the next time they were seen together in public would be a surprise appearance by Martin on Lewis's telethon in 1976 arranged by Frank Sinatra . Lewis wrote of his kinship with Martin in the 2005 book Dean and Me (A Love Story) Although the pair eventually reconciled in the late-1980s after Martin's son died, there was never any reunion. Still and all I will always love Jerry Lewis! He simply makes me laugh! And that is so damn good for me. God knows I need all the laughter I can get!