Jerry Lewis Obituary, Death – In 1946, a struggling singer named Dean Martin was introduced to a young comic named Jerry Lewis. Martin and Lewis came to the conclusion that they should work together, and the rest, as they say, is history. Their act, which consisted of an intricate sequence of sparring and interruption, made them popular on the nightclub circuit as well as on television, which was only beginning to establish its dominance over American popular entertainment at the time.
Soon enough, they found themselves in Hollywood, where they were guided by the astute business acumen of Hal Wallis, a producer for Paramount. They acted in over a dozen movies between the years 1949 and 1956, with Martin playing the role of the worldly philanderer and Lewis taking the role of the gormless hanger-on. The humor may have been simplistic, but Wallis did not make the mistake of cutting corners on the production values, and as a result, the pair was a huge hit at the box office.
The fact that several of Martin and Lewis’s films were loose remakes of earlier Paramount comedies (for example, Scared Stiff, 1953, which was derived from The Ghost Breakers, 1940), with Lewis in roles equivalent to those of the leading ladies in the originals, is a measure of the films’ essential innocence. Both Martin and Lewis went on to have enormously successful careers after they went their separate ways professionally, which was reportedly done out of a sense of mutual hatred.
Lewis’s first few films on his own were routine mixtures of slapstick and somewhat mawkish sentiment, but in 1960 he decided to write, direct, as well as star in, The Bellboy, an account of the struggles of a dysfunctional individual who is at the mercy of modern living that was startlingly surreal and almost completely plotless. Lewis’s first few films on his own were also titled The Bellboy.
After regaining his footing, Lewis spent the following few years alternating between performing in films directed by other directors and directing, producing, and frequently authoring the scripts for his own films. This pattern continued for several years. In the first category, Lewis’s work with Frank Tashlin, a former cartoonist and gagman, resulted in the most fruitful photographs. These pictures were a product of their collaboration.