Jerry Lewis dies age 91

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He began using the professional name Joey Lewis, but later changed it to Jerry, reportedly to avoid confusion with comedian Joe E. Lewis.

Lewis' publicist, Nancy Kane, confirmed he died in his Las Vegas home at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday morning, saying, "He was surrounded by loved ones".

Film was a natural next step, and - as Martin and Lewis - the comedy duo appeared in close to 20 films throughout the early/mid-'50s.

"Jerry Lewis was a genius comedian, actor, director, inventor, humanitarian and, as a Las Vegan, what I miss most", said Jimmy Kimmel.

His parents were entertainers and young Jerry made his debut at age five on New York's Catskill Mountains entertainment circuit.

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis embraced and joked on stage for the first time in two decades, receiving a standing ovation that lasted a full minute, which is an eternity on live TV.

Lewis and Martin, who passed away in 1995, starred together in 14 films throughout the 1950s, including "At War with the Army", "The Caddy" and "Pardners".

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Martin and Lewis enjoyed a smashing ten-year-run, making hit movies in between engagements at nightclubs, on television and radio.

The reunion of Martin and Lewis made worldwide headlines, but Martin downplayed it to his daughter, Deanna, telling her "it was OK". "It's going to be a huge loss for everyone including the entertainment industry", Cazau told 8 News NOW over the phone. "They fought openly on film sets and privately behind the scenes", film critic Shawn Levy wrote for the Guardian in 2005.

Entertainer Jerry Lewis, one of Hollywood's most successful comedians, has died aged 91.

In 2011, the relationship between Lewis and the Muscular Dystrophy Association came to an end, and the organization made a decision to end the annual telethons entirely in 2015.

He married twice, his first wife Patti Palmer, from 1944 to 1980, then to SanDee Pitnick, from 1983 until his death. From 1952 to 2010, the association reported he raised more than $2.6 billion.

By 15 he had dropped out of high school to pursue a career in show business, though he soon found it more hard than he'd expected, working as a theater usher to make ends meet.

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