Julien’s Auctions, the world–record breaking auction house, will celebrate the life and career of the late “King of Comedy” in PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF JERRY LEWIS, an exclusive presentation of the legendary entertainer as part of their two day HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS auction event with day one featuring Jerry Lewis on June 22nd and historical items by other Hollywood stars on June 23rd live at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas—his longtime home and the city where he made his mark as one of Las Vegas’ greatest nightclub performers—and online on juliensauctions.com.
Comedian, actor, singer, humanitarian, film director, film producer and screenwriter, Jerry Lewis was one of Hollywood’s greatest comic geniuses and a pop culture icon revered by millions around the world. Born March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, into a vaudeville family, Lewis made his stage debut at the age of 5 at a Borscht Belt hotel singing “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” At 15, he dropped out of high school and began performing a mime act in a burlesque house in Buffalo. However, it was his pairing with singer Dean Martin, however, in July of 1946 that made Lewis a household name. Their comedic double act was a sensation in the nightclubs, on the radio on The Martin and Lewis Show and in early live television appearances on Toast of the Town (later to be known as The Ed Sullivan Show) and as hosts of The Colgate Comedy Hour. Their 1951 stage show at New York’s Paramount Theater rivaled crowds lining up to see Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and the Beatles. In addition to their immensely popular nightclub and television appearances, Martin and Lewis appeared in sixteen films together, including, My Friend Irma (1949), My Friend Irma Goes West (1950), At War with the Army(1950), The Stooge (1951), The Caddy (1953), Artists and Models (1955) and Pardners (1956).
After the Martin and Lewis partnership ended in 1956, Lewis went on to achieve greater success as a solo artist that included his long standing and critically acclaimed nightclub shows as a singer and comedian in Las Vegas, Miami, New York, Washington and Chicago; his Billboard chart topping recordings of albums including Jerry Lewis Just Sings, More Jerry Lewis and Somebody Loves Me; and a slew of unforgettable television appearances on What’s My Line from 1956–1966 and as host of the Academy Awards in 1956, 1957 and 1959. In addition to starring in his first solo movie, The Delicate Delinquent (1957), the film marked Lewis’ debut as a film producer and screenwriter. In the 1960s, Lewis directed, co–wrote and starred in several films including The Bellboy (1960), The Ladies Man(1961), The Errand Boy (1961) as well as his smash hit, The Nutty Professor (1963) which is considered by critics as Lewis’ finest and most memorable film and was selected in the United States National Film Registry by the Library Congress in 2004. Throughout the 1970s–1980s, Lewis continued to make numerous television appearances from The Dick Cavett Show to The Carol Burnett Show and continued to direct films such as One More Time (1970) to Which Way to the Front? (1970). In 1983, he co–starred with Robert DeNiro in Martin Scorcese’s King of Comedy in which his dramatic role as a late–night television host garnered him worldwide critical acclaim and a BAFTA nomination. His final film, Max Rose, was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. Lewis had developed an acclaimed worldwide following most notably in France where he received the Legion of Honor award in 1983 and the Commander of Arts and Letters in 1984.
In 1995, Lewis’ life long dream of performing on Broadway became a reality when he starred as “Applegate” in Damn Yankees at the Marriott Marquis theater. Damn Yankees had a successful run on Broadway, as well as a two–year tour across the United States. Lewis continued to make films and play nightclubs and showrooms up until 2016.
In addition to his world career as an actor, director and performer, Lewis may be equally known for his humanitarian efforts. From 1956 until 2011, Lewis served as the national chairman and spokesman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (formerly, the Muscular Dystrophy Associations of America), which he received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work, the first time an entertainer had been honored. The annual televised star–studded Labor Day MDA Telethons that Lewis hosted in its 60-year history raised over $2.6 billion. In recognition of his many years of humanitarian works, in 2009 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Lewis with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
Lewis died on August 20, 2017 in Las Vegas at the age of 91.
“Jerry Lewis epitomized the very definition of a Hollywood icon who blazed a path like no other,” said Darren Julien, President/Chief Executive Officer of Julien’s Auctions. “With a career that included being part of one of the most successful comedy duos of all time to his memorable roles as the Nutty Professor and the King of Comedy to his extraordinary humanitarianism, we are honored to present this once in a lifetime auction event celebrating his comedic genius and legacy as one of Hollywood’s greatest stars.”
Highlights of this auction feature a stunning collection of Lewis’ watches including his 18K yellow gold Cartier watch from the Baignoire collection, circa late 1960s to early 1970s (estimate: $25,000–$35,000), a 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe pocket watch gifted to Lewis from the ABC Television Network engineering crew (estimate: $10,000–$15,000) a 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe given to him by Sammy Davis, Jr. engraved on the back “To Jerry From Sammy Jr.” (estimate: $6,000–$8,000), a 14K yellow gold Le Coultre watch given to him by Dean Martin and inscribed “Jerry My Buddy/ and Pal/ I Love You/ Dino,” (estimate: $4,000–6,000) and more; a 14K yellow gold cigarette case topped with a high relief image of Carmen Miranda with engraved initials, “J.L.” (estimate: $2,000–$4,000); a 14K yellow gold lighter with a high relief caricature of Lewis in his clown make–up (estimate: $1,500–$3,000); Lewis’s wardrobe and props from The Nutty Professor including a trio of vintage prop black glasses frames including reading glasses in the style Lewis wears in his film with painted eyeballs on the lenses (estimate: $2,000–$4,000), a collection of custom funny teeth (estimate: $2,000–$4,000) made for Lewis in a custom built box that features Lewis’s face in relief as his character Prof. Julius Kelp and a custom made tweed burgundy suit worn by Lewis in the smash film (estimate: $2,000–$4,000); an embellished ivory wool suit worn by Lewis as Applegate in the 1995 Broadway production of Damn Yankees(estimate: $1,000–$2,000); scripts from The Nutty Professor (estimate: $2,000–$4,000); set designs (estimate: $600–$800) and costumes from Lewis’ clown costume (estimate: $2,000–$4,000) to a customized wool striped shirt with collar and one sleeve removed (estimate: $800–$1,200) worn by Lewis in his unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried(1972); a limited edition monogrammed soccer ball with leather holder made by Louis Vuitton for the World Cup in France in 1998 accompanied with a letter to Lewis from the Senior Vice President of Louis Vuitton (estimate: $1,000–$2,000); a group of acetate disc live recordings featuring Lewis performing at The Palace in New York City on March 10, 1957, and performing in 1956 at the Screen Producers Guild Milestone Dinner honoring Cecil B. DeMille (estimate: $600–$800); Lewis’ 1956 King Silversonic Trumpet made by The H.N. White Co. (estimate: $2,000–$4,000); Lewis and Dean Martin’s 1950 contracts pertaining to the Martin & Lewis Show on NBC (estimate: $1,000–$2,000) and more.