After earning his spot back in Tinsletown, Mr. Jerry Lewis looked for more challenging roles to sink his teeth into. And that came in the form of Martin Scorsese’s stellar 1982 black comedy, “The King of Comedy.” Who better to star in this one than the King of Comedy himself.
The film told the story of a late-night TV host who has to deal with an obsessive fan. The film got him major critical acclaim as well as a BAFTA nomination. Fun fact, the 2019 hit “The Joker” heavily references the film. It’s no coincidence that Robert DeNiro stars in both.
Taking a Breath
Though the complete film was never shown in the end, there was a 31-minute version of the film that was screened on a German TV station (ARD) in the documentary called "Der Clown."
The knock to his career and his reputation set him back for some time. Feeling that he had done whatever he could in comedy but not fully achieving his dreams in the world drama, Lewis left showbiz for a few years.
Back With a Bang
Eleven whole years had passed when Lewis popped up again. In the year 1981, the actor and director returned with the film "Hardly Working." The film told the story of an out-of-work clown who tries to make it in regular 9-to-5 jobs.
Unfortunately, it was totally trashed by critics, but it did at least succeed as a commercial hit, earning roughly $50 million. Lewis was certainly back and put that clown character to better use.
Then There Was a Stalker
Speaking of obsession, during the late '80s, Lewis and his family were haunted by an unknown stalker who would relentlessly harass them. It took ages to uncover the truth about who this person was. Eventually, they discovered his identity, and they were shocked.
The stalker turned out to be a man named Gary Benson, a boyfriend of a former housekeeper. Benson was sentenced to prison in 1994.
Back in Vegas, Baby
With a box office hit and a Scorsese classic behind him, Lewis got back to what he knew best, comedy in Vegas. In 1987, the veteran entertainer partnered up with another Brat Pack member, this time, Sammy Davis Jr.
The two appeared in a whole new act in The Strip. While Lewis was in a new chapter, his old friend beckoned. But it wasn't good news. The son of Dean Martin had tragically passed, and Lewis went to the funeral to pay his condolences.