American Legends: The Life of Jerry Lewis

ISBN: 9781497331440
*Includes pictures.
*Includes Lewis' quotes about his own life and career.
*Includes a bibliography for further reading.

“I've had great success being a total idiot.” – Jerry Lewis

A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history’s most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors’ American Legends series, readers can get caught up to speed on the lives of America’s most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.

Jerry Lewis has been in show business for over 7 decades, a multi-talented entertainer known for comedy, acting, singing, and producing and directing films to match. In many ways, his versatility is unprecedented even today, an era in which stars routinely alternate between film and musical careers, and Lewis has enjoyed it, as he once happily noted, “I get paid for what most kids get punished for.” He has been paid in several ways, including with too many lifetime awards to count, and he remains a household name today.

At the same time, however, Lewis remains best known for his work with Dean Martin, and in that sense, he remains overshadowed by his more famous partner. There’s no doubt part of this was due to the stark contrast between their images, as Martin was suave and traditionally masculine while Lewis was a bundle of frantic energy. Although the circumstances that initiated their partnership are unusual and purely coincidental, the natural contrasts between the two ensured a perfect and complementary comedic fit. Working as “Martin and Lewis”, the team became the most popular nightclub act in America, commanding huge fees for their appearances all across the country.

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