Publicist: Jerry Lewis, comedian , telethon host, dies at 91

Pierre, a bespectacled five-year-old chimpanzee who's trying to make a name for himself in the movies, is introduced to the banana split by comedian Jerry Lewis, a fellow actor in Hollywood, on Jan. 24, 1950 in Los Angeles. Pierre is at first, only mildly interested as Lewis takes a spoonful of banana and strawberry. Then Pierre decide it's worth a closer look and he takes a taste, with a bit of urging from Lewis. Later Pierre gobbled a whole one. Frank Filan / A

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jerry Lewis, the rubber-faced comedian and director whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died.

Publicist Candi Cazau says Lewis passed away Sunday morning of natural causes at age 91 in Las Vegas with his family by his side.

Lewis first became a star in a duo with Dean Martin, entertaining audiences in nightclubs, on television and in the movies. After their split in 1956, he starred in and directed a slew of hit films such as “The Nutty Professor.”

Later generations knew him primarily as the tireless conductor of the Labor Day weekend telethons to raise funds for victims of muscular dystrophy. Lewis retired from making movies in 1995, but returned as star of the 2016 drama “Max Rose.”

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