IMDb Polls

Poll: Facts You May Not Know About Jerry Lewis

Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis has passed away at the age of 91. Throughout his eight-decade career Lewis wrote, directed and produced many titles in addition to acting in them and was a popular nightclub performer with his partner Dean Martin. He also served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and hosted the live Labor Day Weekend broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 44 years.

With such a long and esteemed career Lewis has done many things the general public is not aware of. Which of these facts most surprises you?

Discuss the list here

Make Your Choice

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    Jerry Lewis in The Ladies Man (1961)

    He was the first to develop and use video-assist while shooting on location. This has since become the industry standard.
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    #2

    Lewis wrote, produced and acted in The Day the Clown Cried. Its release was delayed due to legal difficulties. In the ensuing months, he decided that film, which follows a clown imprisoned in Auschwitz, should not be released because it is an embarrassingly "bad work" of which he was ashamed. As of Lewis's death it has still not been released.
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    Jerry Lewis and Gary Lewis

    Lewis's oldest child, son Gary Lewis, was the leader of the '60s rock group Gary Lewis & the Playboys. The band had seven Top 10 singles in two years, including their biggest hit, "This Diamond Ring."
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    Jerry Lewis in The Geisha Boy (1958)

    He got a base hit off Detroit Tigers pitcher Mike Strahler during an exhibition game in 1973.
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    Jerry Lewis in Three on a Couch (1966)

    Lewis turned down the role of Jerry/Daphne in Some Like It Hot, supposedly because he didn't want to dress in drag. Jack Lemmon took the role and was awarded with an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Reportedly Lemmon sent Lewis chocolates every year to thank him for turning down the film and every time he ran into director Billy Wilder, Wilder would greet him with, "Hello, Schmuck!" Lewis performed in drag seven years later in Three on a Couch.
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    Hank Azaria and Jerry Lewis in The Simpsons (1989)

    Hank Azaria voices the Professor Frink character on the Simpsons. The first time he performed the character he used a voice similar to Julius Kelp, Lewis's character from the Nutty Professor. The voice was a hit and the character was changed to be more nerdy and to closer resemble Kelp. Jerry later guest-voiced the role of Frink's father in a Treehouse of Horror episode.
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    George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

    While teaching a class in movie directing at USC, two of his students were Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
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    Jerry Lewis in The 81st Annual Academy Awards (2009)

    Lewis won the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2009 Oscars. He often carried his Oscar around with him, and even brought it in a duffel bag to a press conference at Cannes.
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    Jerry Lewis and Tamba the Chimp at an event for My Friend Irma Goes West (1950)

    His parents being vaudeville performers, Jerry got his start in the Catskills at the age of five. He claimed he sang the hit song, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime."
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    Albert Einstein

    Seventeen year-old Jerry made his TV debut on a local TV show broadcast to Princeton, NJ. The performers from the show were driven to meet Albert Einstein, who had watched the show. "You did a good job, young man," the professor told teenager Jerry.
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    On l'appelle Catastrophe (1983)

    A French philosophy teacher was inspired to become an actor by Lewis. Michel Leeb, AKA the "French Jerry Lewis," effected the same type of wacky humor Lewis was known for.
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    Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon (1966)

    Jerry was nominated for a Nobel Prize for his long-time work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His yearly telethons raised nearly $2.5 billion.
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    Jerry Lewis in The Ladies Man (1961)

    A huge movie fan, Jerry often screened films at his home. If he came across a scene he didn't like, he would reedit the film with his own editing equipment.
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    Martin Scorsese and Jerry Lewis in The King of Comedy (1982)

    Lewis's character in King of Comedy was original named Bobby. He suggested to director Martin Scorsese that it be changed to Jerry so they could catch random people coming up to or yelling at him on the street.
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    Jean-Luc Godard in Aria (1987)

    The joke about the French loving Jerry Lewis is no joke. He was known there as "the King of Crazy" and was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest decoration in France. In his acceptance speech he apologized for not speaking French by saying that, "even if the French people cannot hear my language, they have always heard my heart." Director Jean-Luc Godard called Jerry, "the only American director who has made progressive films. He is much better than Chaplin and Keaton."
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    Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin

    Jerry partnered with singing sot Dean Martin beginning in 1946. The act broke up exactly 10 years to that day, having made 16 films, a TV series and numerous appearances on radio, on stage and in clubs. Reportedly Jerry was unable to listen to Dean's songs from then on. While they reunited a few times over the years, their relationship was never the same.
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    Jerry Lewis

    Jerry never forgot his poverty-filled upbringing, including always having holes in his socks. After hitting it big he started wearing socks only one time. Once he had worn a pair, he would throw them away and would often change his socks as many as four times a day. When asked about it he said, "I just like the feeling of brand-new."