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

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 4, 2006 file photo, Jerry Lewis celebrates $61,013,855 million in pledges and contributions during the Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day telethon in Las Vegas. In 2011, the MDA dropped Lewis as its national chairman and telethon host, then ended the telethon itself in 2015. (AP Photo/Jane Kalinowsky)

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.

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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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