Joseph Levitch (March 16, 1926 – August 20, 2017), known popularly as Jerry Lewis, was an American comedian, actor, singer, filmmaker and humanitarian, who is nicknamed "The King of Comedy" and also referred to as "The Total Filmmaker". With an 8-decade career, he starred in 60 films, including the first 16 with Dean Martin during the act Martin and Lewis, which also did nightclub engagements and television work.
Lewis went into directing, producing and screenwriting, following a contract signed between Paramount Pictures and Jerry Lewis Productions, then the biggest single transaction in film history for the exclusive services of one star. While appearing in concerts and television, Lewis sang and recorded many albums, one of which "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody", released by Decca, sold nearly four million copies.
Celebrated for his work fundraising for muscular dystrophy research, he was national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and from 1966 to 2010, he hosted The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon each year. Lewis is also credited with inventing video assist, a device widely used in movie production today and created the close-circuit television system to facilitate film production.
Lewis received global acclaim for his unique style with comedy and drama and was voted Hollywood's top box-office draw from 1951 to 1965, in later years as the sole comedian.