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Jerry Lewis on Being a Person

Christopher J. Lewis

Jerry Lewis was one of the most loved comedians and movie stars of the 20th century and an influential philanthropist who changed how Americans gave to charities.

He was born on March 16, 1926, to Vaudevillian parents. At the age of six, his first stage appearance was singing to a Depression-era audience. He loved the experience and wanted to do more.

He was never a good student; he dropped out of school after the ninth grade. He worked as a bellboy in the Catskill Mountains during the summers to be near his parents. In 1942, sixteen-year-old Jerry launched his stand-up comedy career billed as Satirical Impressions and Comedic Pantomimicry in a hotel lobby.

He became a regular on the nightclub circuit in 1943, but when he performed with Dean Martin on July 25, 1946, his life changed forever. By 1952, Martin and Lewis were the number one box office stars in the world and NBC radio and television stars.

Jerry went on to write, produce, direct, and star in many of his films. Since his idol Charlie Chaplin, he was the first big-name star to do it successfully, becoming a top box office star.

In 1949, Jerry told Dean he wanted to help families fighting muscular dystrophy. Martin and Lewis became the public faces of the newly formed Muscular Dystrophy Association in 1951 until they split as a team in 1956. Jerry became the organization’s National Chairman and raised over 2 billion dollars for research and clinical care with the MDA Telethons from 1952 to 2010.

Jerry Lewis on Being a Person traces the character of this aptly famous personality primarily through a depiction of the philosophy with which Jerry lived his life, ran his productions, and related with his lifelong friends. Humorous, as one might imagine anything associated with Jerry would be, it is also poignant, especially regarding the personalities he knew through his beloved Telethons for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Jerry loved people, and they loved him back.

This full-color book, written from first-hand accounts of his son, is an intimate portrait of a complex— and sometimes misunderstood— man. It includes family background, the genesis of the phenomenal decade-long Martin and Lewis partnership, and interviews with friends and personalities closest to Jerry during the MDA Telethons.

Packed with over 300 photographs (most never-before seen) and original drawings, the book pays tribute to the legacy of the comic who captured the hearts of Americans and many millions of people worldwide.

The $19.26 price of the book honors Jerry’s birth year of 1926.

ISBN:978-1-943901-93-7
LCCN:2023912217
Format:6.14 x 9.21” B&W soft cover
Size:314 pages
Publication:16 March 2024
Price:$ 19.26 USD

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