Joseph Levitch (March 16, 1926 – August 20, 2017), known worldwide as Jerry Lewis, was an American comedian, actor, singer, director, producer, screenwriter and humanitarian, whose career spanned eight decades and was nicknamed "The King of Comedy". He was known for his partnership with Dean Martin as the groundbreaking act of Martin and Lewis.
Lewis went on to star in, write, produce and direct many motion pictures, such as The Delicate Delinquent, The Sad Sack, Rock-A-Bye Baby, The Geisha Boy, Don't Give Up The Ship, Visit to a Small Planet, Cinderfella, The Bellboy, The Ladies' Man, The Errand Boy, It's Only Money, The Nutty Professor, Who's Minding the Store?, The Patsy, The Disorderly Orderly and The Family Jewels.
Outside of his career, he supported fundraising for muscular dystrophy research, during 60 years as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and 44 years hosting The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon every Labor Day weekend. In 1977, Lewis was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work.
As one of the most successful performers in show business, with worldwide box office receipts of his films in excess of $800 million, Lewis received global acclaim for his unique ability and style with both comedy and drama. As part of Martin and Lewis and as a solo actor, he was voted Hollywood's top box-office draw from 1951 to 1965, in later years as the sole comedian.
Lewis died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, at 9:15 a.m. (PDT) on August 20, 2017, at the age of 91. The cause was end-stage cardiac disease and peripheral artery disease. In his will, Lewis left his estate to his second wife of 34 years, SanDee Pitnick, and their daughter, and intentionally excluded his children from his first marriage as well as their descendants.