Legendary Comedian Jerry Lewis Has Passed Away

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Lewis died of natural causes on Sunday morning at his Las Vegas home.

By age 15, he had assembled his own routine of comedic lip-syncing and made the rounds of NY talent agents, although only a burlesque house in Buffalo was interested.

As confirmed by Variety, legendary slapstick comedian Jerry Lewis-possibly better known in recent years for his famous Muscular Dystrophy telethon-has died.

Katsilometes later reported a statement via Twitter, presumably from a representative of Lewis.

The duo broke up in 1956, but Lewis filled in for Judy Garland at a Las Vegas show shortly after that and proved to be such a hit that he continued performing there nearly up until his death.

A legend of American cinema has long suffered from various ailments, including heart attacks, inflammatory diseases of the lung and chronic back pain.

Despite his health status, Lewis remained determined to keep working. At a dark time in my life, he brought me joy.

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Lewis was also the father of a pop star: his sonGary Lewis fronted Gary Lewis & the Playboys, which scored '60s hits like "This Diamond Ring". For more than four decades Lewis was the spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon was carried on Channel 8 KLKN TV for several years. My first meeting was with him (and Dean Martin) in a freight elevator in my New York City apartment building when I was 12 years old.

Jerry - whose real name was Jerome Levitch - starred in 16 films with Dean, including "At War With the Army", "The Caddy", "You're Never Too Young" and "Hollywood or Bust". Observers have attributed their breakup to Lewis' interest in producing and directing movies, his ego and need for control, as well as a desire for approval from the often-remote Martin. Lewis then had a successful solo career, starring in films such as The Nutty Professor and The Bellboy.

Writer-actor Marlon Wayans, Will & Grace's Sean Hayes and stand-up comedian Dane Cook referred to Lewis as a hero and mentor.

Lewis was unique in that he used his stardom not only to accumulate fame and fortune but also to accumulate power.

Lewis is survived by his second wife, SanDee Pitnick. Lewis has six sons and one daughter.

No funeral or memorial arrangements have been announced at this time.

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