Sunday, June 26, 2011

Jerry Lewis Falls Ill

Jerry Lewis fell ill today as he was about to step onto a French stage to perform for Muscular Dystrophy.  He says this will be his last telethon as host.  He says he will still sing "When You Walk." 

Jerry wasn't hospitalized but a doctor did attend to him.  The doctor said he collapsed from exhaustion.  He's 85 years young.  I wish him well.  He's been one of my favorite celeb -- going back, when he was nasty on the Mike Douglas Show in the '70's or the Telethon.  When he got off Percodan and met his current wife, I think he was very happy.  And he's made a lot of money since.  Amazon is selling his videos.  Above is The Ladies Man (1961).  Karyn Kupcinet was in it.  She was also going to be in The Nutty President (1963), but she died.

I began to understand Jerry when I realized what had happened to him in 1963.  He was given a multi-million dollar contract to host a live 2-hour Saturday night show on whatever network.  Everyone wished him luck.  On his first show were phone calls from Johnny Carson and other talk show hosts wishing him well.  Steve Allen played a joke on Jerry. Steve was in the audience with Karyn Kupcinet.  This was around Sept. 1963. 

I loved Jerry but I was too young to watch the show that late.  But my parents always brought me to his movies, and I remember seeing The Ladies Man when it first came out.

The show bombed.  I don't know why.  He lost his multi-million dollar deal.  Apparently the Producers did not like the show.  The embarassment of losing a deal like that affected him.  He started to become "Jer."  Then his friend, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated. Then the girl he discovered, Karyn Kupcinet, was murdered the next week.  On the show he had the audience singing "Think Pink" because his wife was pregnant.  They already had 5 boys.  Lewis wanted a daughter.  The child was born during this time frame, another boy.  That's a hell of a lot of things to deal with in a short span of time.

There was one fortunate thing for him that year: The Nutty Professor was a hit.

So now I understand "Jer."

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