Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jerry Lewis (1926-2017)

Jerry Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker (right) who was adored by many (including me), and disdained by some – but, unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the twentieth century, died on Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91.
Lewis knew success in movies, on television, in nightclubs, on the Broadway stage and in the university lecture hall. Certainly, his career had its ups and downs, but when it was at its zenith there were few stars any bigger.
And he got there remarkably quickly. Barely out of his teens, Lewis shot to fame shortly after World War II with a nightclub act in which the rakish, imperturbable Dean Martin crooned and the skinny, hyperactive Lewis capered around the stage, a dangerously volatile id to Martin’s supremely relaxed ego.
After his break with Martin in 1956, Lewis went on to a successful solo career, eventually writing, producing and directing many of his own films.
As a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Lewis raised vast sums for charity; as a filmmaker of great personal force and technical skill, he made many contributions to the industry, including the invention in 1960 of a device – the video assist, which allowed directors to review their work immediately on the set – still in common use.
And Lewis was officially recognized as a “towering figure in cinema” at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
For those who don’t know him, this best describes Jerry Lewis: “A mercurial personality who could flip from naked neediness to towering rage, Mr. Lewis seemed to contain multitudes, and he explored all of them. His ultimate object of contemplation was his own contradictory self, and he turned his obsession with fragmentation, discontinuity and the limits of language into a spectacle that enchanted children, disturbed adults and fascinated postmodernist critics” (Dave Kehr, The New York Times).
Jerry Lewis, simplistically complicated. R.I.P.

Yesterday, I was at Menara ExxonMobil in Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur to attend the Tiger Toastmasters meeting. I was a Speech Evaluator.
And look what I received?

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