Henry Miller once said, "A clown is a poet in action." Everyone loves a clown. One of the world's favorite comics, Jerry Lewis (1926-) was born Joseph Levitch on this day in Newark, New Jersey. His parents were vaudeville performers.
"If you create an atmosphere of fun you will get great work," Lewis once said.
In 1946, he teamed with singer Dean Martin and became an international sensation. The duo starred in 16 successful films before breaking up in 1956. Lewis described the partnership as "the organ grinder and the monkey."
Versatile, talented, and unique, Lewis has tirelessly raised over $1.6 billion since 1965 for Muscular Dystrophy, an organization that works to combat over 40 neuromuscular diseases. His 21-1/2 hour MDA telethon has become a Labor Day tradition.
"It is more important to focus on what people with disabilities can do, rather than what they can't," explained Lewis who is a favorite of the French.
A master of pratfalls, he has suffered with constant pain since chipping a piece of his spine in 1965. According to USA Today, in recent years, pulmonary fibrosis, an increase of fibrous tissue in the lungs, has forced the comic to take steroid prednisone. The hormone has caused weight gain and facial bloating.
"Always play the 9-year-old kid and always hold onto that innocence," he advised.
Whatever the hardship, whatever the challenge, Lewis maintains the heart of a 9-year old and continues to pursue his passion, bringing joy and laughter to millions throughout the world.
Celebrate life with laughter today.