Lewis was no stranger to health issues, and not just when it came to his philanthropic work. Sadly the entertainer suffered greatly from a terrible back injury. However, the reason behind it is somewhat contested.
Was it due to a fall or not? Did it happen at the Sands Hotel and Casino on March 20, 1965, or during an appearance on “The Andy Williams Show,” it was not clear. Either way, Lewis suffered for years because of it and was reliant on prescription pills to ease the pain.
The Broadway Star
Forever bouncing between comedy and his more dramatic pursuits, Lewis set out to achieve a whole new goal, and that was to actualize a life-long dream and act in a Broadway play.
The actor made his dreams come true in the year 1995 when he was cast as the devil in "Damn Yankees." Of course, as a big-time star, he got the highest paycheck in Broadway history at the time.
A comedian, an actor, and a director. While these are all worthy descriptions of the great Jerry Lewis, he was also a philanthropist who dedicated a lot of his life to support the research of muscular dystrophy. The work began in 1951 with Dean Martin. Back then, the two made an appeal to the public about the organization during the finale of the Colgate Comedy Hour.
Thanks to Martin and Lewis, their funding has contributed to major discoveries, treatments, therapies, and methods of care. These milestones have allowed those affected to live longer and happier lives. Over 200 research and treatment centers have been built with the help of Jerry Lewis Telethons.
Lewis had his own unique way of celebrating his riches and how far he came from his poor childhood. He did that by never wearing a pair of socks twice. Every time he would be done with his socks for the day, he would simply toss them into the garbage.
Sometimes he would even change his socks as many as four times in one day, simply because he enjoyed the "feeling of brand new."
The Lifetime Achievement Award
Though Lewis never actually received an Academy Award for any of his films, he did receive one for his entire career in the year 2009. "Lifetime Achievement" was certainly something he deserved.
It was an incredibly triumphant moment in his career, and he was very proud to have it; in fact, Lewis would carry around his Oscar trophy to just about every place he went.