Jerry Lewis, A Hollywood Treasure

Great comedic giant, Jerry Lewis, was honored at a ceremony today at the TCL Chinese Theater. The 88-year-old Lewis, who was joined by his wife and daughter, was immortalized in cement during a hand-and-footprint ceremony today, which was part of the Turner Classic Movie Classic Film Festival. The festival celebrates the 20th anniversary of Turner Classic Movies. True to form, Jerry brought his funny nature along with him, proving that comedy is not just something that he does, but that it is deeply ingrained into the fibers of his personality.

USA Today reports that, after being instructed in several different poses by the camera crew, Jerry Lewis snatched up his own camera and jokingly gave directions to the photographers “so they could learn how it felt”. Jerry did not stop there, but also took pictures of the guests, made funny faces, bit Quentin Tarantino on the hand, and did what he does best: crack jokes.

Jerry Lewis was introduced by Tarantino, who spoke about the impact Lewis had on him as a young boy. “I really think this man is a treasure,” said Tarantino. “He is one of the great actors/directors in the history of cinema.

The ceremony was described as “incredible” by Jerry Lewis, who was thrilled to have his daughter, Danielle, in attendance. After the handprint event, Lewis was scheduled to introduce a special screening of The Nutty Professor. “It was wonderful to see all of you,” Lewis waved to the guests. “I’ll see you all later.”

Tarantino also hosted a tribute to Lewis on April 12th at the New Beverly Cinema. Originally a venue for vaudeville, hosting Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and Jackie Gleason, the cinema has been owned by Tarantino since 2007. During the tribute he is showing four films from his own collection: At War With the Army, Hollywood or Bust, Don’t Give Up the Ship, and Boeing, Boeing.

“It’s a privilege to host a film tribute at the New Beverly and share my prints of his amazing work with the public,” he said.

All laughing aside, Jerry Lewis has a soft side as well. Since the 1950s, Lewis has hosted the annual telethon to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 1966, the first official Jerry Lewis Telethon for muscular dystrophy was broadcast from the Americana Hotel in New York over Labor Day weekend. Lewis faithfully hosted this event every year until 2011.

It is an amazing feat to continue to make people laugh at the age of 88, but humor is just a part of Jerry Lewis’ personality. As Quentin Tarantino says, “Jerry is a Hollywood treasure.”

[Image via USA Today]