Legendary comic and entertainer Jerry Lewis, dead at 91

According to Variety, The Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes reported that he died at his home at 9:15 a.m. and his agent confirmed the news.

Even when Lewis' national prominence waned in the last few decades, he continued to work regularly.

Lewis was most known for his slapstick humor and his generous philanthropy.

Later generations knew him primarily as the tireless conductor of the United States telethons for victims of muscular dystrophy, raising millions of dollars for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Lewis first gained fame for his frenzied comedy-and-music act with singer Dean Martin.

"Sadly I can confirm that today the world lost one of the most significant human beings of the twentieth century", a rep for Lewis told ABC.

Lewis married his second wife, SanDee Pitnick, in 1983.

Lewis' best known movie was the 1963 film "The Nutty Professor" in which he plays a nutty mad scientist.

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Celebrities and comedians paid tribute to Lewis on social media after news of his death broke Sunday. Most recently, he'd appeared in the 2013 movies Max Rose and Till Luck Do Us Part 2, as well as the 2016 film The Trust.

"The days and hours I spent in hospital hallways waiting for the answer of this child - was he going to live or die?"

Lewis endured a number of setbacks including open heart surgery, prostate cancer and a bitter separation from one of his five sons.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

I am because he was: Jim Carrey recognized Lewis' influence on his comedic stylings, tweeting: "That fool was no dummy".

In 1995, he tried his hand at theater, making his Broadway debut in a revival of Guys and Dolls, taking over for Victor Garber in the role of Mr. Applegate (the Devil in disguise).

Born Joseph Levitch in 1926, the Newark, New Jersey native dropped out of high school at the age of 16 and aggressively sought out a career as a performer.

"Martin and Lewis are genial boys, and some of their knockabout clowning is in the classic tradition of good buffoons", the paper wrote in 1952.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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