WATCH: Jerry Lewis’ Awkward, Angry Interview in 2016

Legendary comedian and filmmaker Jerry Lewis passed away earlier today, at the age of 91. His publicist confirmed that Lewis died in his home at about 9:15 a.m. Sunday morning.

Lewis became a pop culture sensation from his partnership with Dean Martin and is known for comedy classics like “The Nutty Professor” and “The Bellboy.”

Lewis also helped raised over $2.5 billion for the Muscular Dystrophy Association through his annual Labor Day telethon that he hosted until 2011, according to Variety. The telethon would sometimes run as long as 21 hours, featured many guests including the entertainment flavor of the month, “Tonight Show” co-host Ed McMahon and John Lennon. In 1976, he reunited with Martin, thanks to the intercession of mutual acquaintance Frank Sinatra. Lewis was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from the Motion Picture Academy in 2009.

In 2016, Lewis gave an awkward interview with The Hollywood Reporter (video above). Lewis, who was clearly agitated, responded to the interviewer’s questions with hostility and mostly one word answers. The Hollywood Reporter titled the accompanying article, “The most painfully awkward interview of 2016.” The video went viral after it was posted.

Lewis, born Joseph Levitch, was born in Newark New Jersey on March 16, 1926. His father was a vaudeville performer, and his mother was a piano player. He was mostly raised by his grandmother.

After his success with Martin, Lewis went solo in the early 60’s, he became a top draw in movies like “The Bellyboy,” “The Nutty Professor” and “The Patsy.”

Along the way, he pioneered the use of videotape and closed-circuit monitors in moviemaking, a now-standard technique called video assist, according to CNN.

Despite Lewis’ success, he was also a controversial figure. He drew criticism when he criticized women doing comedy, according to CNN. A number of people suffering with muscular dystrophy claimed Lewis presented victims as childlike and worth of pity, rather than equal members of society.

Lewis had six children, five sons and a daughter, by two wives. His son, Gary, became the lead singer of the 1960’s pop group Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

9 Comments

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9 Comments

Anonymous

He didn’t like the way they brought so much equipment in to take pictures and do the interview. The reporter did nothing wrong. Lewis was an jerk his entire life. He was extremely rude. This was his last interview and you get to see him as the creep he really was in real life and not his reel life persona. Good riddance.

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lanadee

Oh the pain the reporter must have endured, realizing ANYTHING he asked would be met with one word answers…or less ha. You have to hand it to him. He never gave up ( the reporter). Jerry Lewis was never my kind of comedian but he will always have a place in my heart and mind for his work raising money for Muscular Dystrophy. My brother suffered from that disease. He always watched the telethon with the hope that a cure would be found. He did so until he passed away. Thank you Jerry for the joy you brought my brother. You will be missed.

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Susan Daniels

He always said he wasn’t paid to do the telethon but a stagehand said he charged $150,000 a year for expenses and he refused to meet any children there in wheelchairs. He has been a nasty man his entire life.

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mike hill

I fricken loved this lol he reminded me of Marshawn Lynch being forced to do an interview that he did not want to do but had an contractual obligation to do so. I laughed the whole way threw classic

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Charles

For over 51 years I had the pleasure of interviewing the famous & the not so famous. My first rule before we set-up the interview was to explain the purpose of the interview. What will it be used for? Profit? Education? Archival? etc. If the interviewee accepted — I always asked what they would actually like to say – aimed at that audience. You’d be surprised at the initial reaponse! I gave them the option of really running the interview.
Jerry Lewis was upset! I’m surprised he let them set-up. This seems to be an opportunity lost. A shame.

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Anna Lynn

The interviewer needs to do his homework before interviewing his subject. How about asking a pertinent question with details aka facts aka something that lets the person being interviewed feel like you’re actually interested in an answer. The interviewer came across as disrespectful and he got the answers he deserved.

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Az gal

What was he pissed about? Did he have Alzheimer’s? Great comedian, irregardless.

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Mark Steele

From the beginning, Lewis seemed to be attacked, or mocked, by the interviewer–who seemed to disparage him from continuing to work, and harping on the age factor. I’ve never been a big fan of Lewis, but shared his hostility toward an interviewer who demonstrated zero skill in eliciting anything of interest.

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