Comedic legendary icon, Jerry Lewis, was honored in cement this weekend at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Saturday (April 12 2014). This marks the fourth consecutive year Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has featured a handprint and footprint ceremony at the legendary theater. 2011 saw Peter O'Toole as the honoree, followed by Kim Novak in 2012 and Jane Fonda in 2013. Many in Hollywood say it is an honor long overdue for the 88 year old comedy icon who made his first television appearance alongside comedy partner Dean Martin on the June 20, 1948 debut broadcast of 'Toast of the Town' with Ed Sullivan.
The actor/director/producer, who was joined by his wife and daughter, was immortalized in cement during the ceremony as part of the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival. The 88-year-old Lewis, turned the ceremony into an impressive comedy showcase and displayed that he's still got it. During the event, the slapstick master managed to flip the bird, make his trademark funny faces and mock the media by asking for, and getting, an slr camera - then proceeding to bark instructions at the photographers as he was being photographed. Ever the consummate entertainer, Lewis also made funny faces at the crowd while guiding everyone into an impromptu rendition of 'Silent Night'.
Guest speaker Quentin Tarantino was on hand to introduce Lewis during the ceremony, calling the veteran entertainer: "a treasure". After the speech, Jerry gave Quentin a bite, then a kiss, on his hand, to which Quentin screamed, “I got kissed by Jerry Lewis!” "He is one of the great actors/directors in the history of cinema", Tarantino added. Lewis said that the honor was "incredible," especially as it came in a rare public event with his adopted daughter Danielle whom he asked to take a bow. Also there to support Lewis was comedian Richard Lewis (no relation), comedian Dane Cook and actress Illeana Douglas.
After the event, Lewis was scheduled to introduce a special screening of The 'Nutty Professor', a film in which he not only starred in but also directed and co-wrote. “It was wonderful to see all of you,” Lewis waved to the media and guests. “I’ll see you all later.”
Born Joseph Levitch March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, USA
Had open heart surgery in 1983.
He was presented the French Legion of Honor in 1984 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.
He and Dean Martin were the world's top box-office earners from 1950-1956.
Oldest son Gary Lewis and his group Gary Lewis & The Playboys had several pop hits in the 1960s
Starred with Dean Martin on NBC Radio's "The Martin and Lewis Show" (1949-1953).
Was teamed up with Dean Martin from 1946-1956.
Besides Dean Martin, Lewis says the closest friend he ever had was Sammy Davis Jr.
Says his favorite Martin & Lewis film is The Stooge (1952) because "...it came closest to capturing what Dean and I had as a team".
Was offered the role of Jerry/Daphne in Some Like It Hot (1959), directed by his friend Billy Wilder. He declined because he didn't want to dress in drag. The part, of course, eventually went to Jack Lemmon and he received an Oscar nomination for his performance. Lewis says that Lemmon would send him chocolates every year to thank him and he now regrets not taking the role.
Has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star for movies is at 6801 Hollywood Blvd. His star for television is at 6150 Hollywood Blvd.