Oscars finally show some love for Jerry Lewis

He’ll get an honorary award Sunday, but he should have won years ago.


He is getting an award for his MDA work.

For those of you too young to know him in his prime, or just want a few rememberances, watch:

Jerry Lewis Typewriter

Jerry Lewis - The Errand Boy (1961) Pantomime

The Bellboy - Conducting

A story from the Anchoress:

The subject of Lewis once came up in a class of mine and the instructor - a stickler to the lesson plan - broke away from it to praise him: “let me tell you about Jerry Lewis. My brother has * and our whole family has benefited, all his life, from the MDA and Lewis’ commitment to it. One year my brother wrote a fan letter to Lewis and in it mentioned in passing that his dog had died. Next thing we know, we get a phone call from Lewis’s office asking if my brother could meet him at the airport. We did, and here comes Jerry Lewis, and he’s carrying a puppy that he puts into my brother’s lap. He was between flights and he spent nearly a half-hour with my brother and the rest of us, just talking - letting my brother know he mattered. You cannot say a bad word to me, about this man.”*
By the time she finished the story she was in tears, as were many of us.

He’s no saint, of course. His career has had ups and downs and many of the downs were of his own making. He has a huge ego and lots of public faults - but he is also famously generous. When Stan Laurel died, Lewis paid for his funeral and settled all his debts. He is also a man of his age and era. Having outlived so many of his contemporaries, Lewis has offended this generation with his opinions, as when (apparently ignorant of the likes of Lucielle Ball, Carole Lombard, Madeline Kahn, Judy Holliday and many others) he suggested a few years back that women were not funny…

I don’t think I’ve ever heard what inspired his commitment to MDA, but my sense of him, when I saw him, was that regardless of what Lewis-the - egocentric-entertainer does or covets, the MDA Jerry Lewis is a mensch and his work with that organization a half-century long mitzvah, a good deed for which he seeks no reward.

That’s no small thing, and not a bad epitaph.


**Bravo Zulu, Jerry!

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