Lewis starred in, produced and directed many films including "The Delicate Delinquent" in 1957, "The Bellboy" in 1960 and "The Nutty Professor" in 1963.
Lewis has dealt with his share of controversy throughout his career, too, coming under fire for his sometimes racially charged humor and comments about female comedians. Following that success, he was a solo star in motion pictures, nightclubs, television shows, concerts, album recordings and musicals.
1967 - Teaches a graduate course in film at the University of Southern California.
Lewis is also known for an unreleased Holocaust drama "The Day the Clown Cried", filmed in 1972.
By 15, he had refined an act that involved exaggerated miming to records under the name Joey Lewis, which he later changed to Jerry.
The star appeared on Broadway as a replacement in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees, where he replaced Victor Garber as "Applegate". It was then that movie critics in France began hailing Lewis as an auteur and comedy genius, an idea at which many Americans scoffed.
Lewis' additional TV credits included episodes of Wiseguy, Mad About You, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The Simpsons. Ever the workaholic, he had expressed interest in making another film by December of that year.
He explained his popularity in France, by saying: "The French are very visually oriented even though they are cerebral".
Lewis dealt with many health setbacks throughout his life, including prostate cancer, two heart attacks, Type 1 diabetes, and pulmonary fibrosis, according to the Huffington Post. His son Joseph died in 2009.
Honored with accolades at home and overseas, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and France's Legion of Honor, Lewis became known as much for his tireless efforts to promote awareness of Muscular Dystrophy as for his wacky comedy.
Lewis was married twice, once to Patti Palmer, a former singer who he Wednesday in October 9144 and divorced in 1980 and then to SanDee Pitnick, a former dancer who he married in February 1983 and stayed with until his death.