Jerry Lewis 1926-2017

Comedian, actor, director and author Jerry Lewis had a considerable Nevada career. Not only was his famous annual muscular dystrophy Labor Day telethon held in Las Vegas every year, but he and early partner Dean Martin performed there, often at the Sands. Long sections of their last movie, Hollywood or Bust were filmed in Las Vegas and at Hoover Dam. Four years after their split, Martin and Lewis actually staged a reunion show at the Sands.

Former KTVN Reno director Gigi Koury, now a Las Vegas production manager, worked with Lewis for several years on the telethon. “Traveling in his circle was exhilarating and challenging,” she said. He once told her they got along well “because we are both perfectionists.” Lewis was author of The Total Film-Maker (Random House 1971).

Lewis had a residence in Las Vegas and was stalked and threatened by a man named Gary Benson, who was convicted of aggravated stalking in 1995 and spent more than four years in prison. On March 11, 1999, Lewis testified before the Nevada Assembly in favor of heavier stalking penalties.