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Comedians Pay Tribute to Jerry Lewis: “The French Were Right About Him All Along”

Jerry Lewis attends the Jerry Lewis hommage and Max Rose premiere at the Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 23, 2013, in Cannes, France.

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Legendary comedian Jerry Lewis, known for his slapstick and, later in life, his philanthropy, died Sunday morning of natural causes. He was 91. With a career that spanned almost the entire length of his life, it didn’t take long for his fellow comedians to take to social media to mourn the loss of the man many described as an inspiration.

Penn Jillette wrote a series of tweets honoring the late comedian, emphasizing his larger-than-life persona and what he means to comedians everywhere. “We will miss Jerry so much,” Jillette wrote in one of his tweets. “I can’t believe I got to meet him and spend time with him.”

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William Shatner offered a much simpler tribute that expressed condolences but ended with a poignant message (and sad-faced emoticon): “The world is a lot less funnier today.”

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Jim Carrey noted how much of an influence “undeniable genius” Lewis played on his career: “I am because he was!”

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Jeffrey Tambor also praised Lewis as an innovator, writing, “You invented the whole thing.”

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Sandra Bernhard, who starred in The King of Comedy alongside Lewis, called it “one of the great experiences” of her career. “He was tough but one of a kind,” she wrote.

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Bette Midler also hinted at how Lewis was far from saint, noting that he was “a complicated soul” who “made the world laugh.”

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Josh Gad praised Lewis as “one of the greatest of all time” and “a one of a kind.”

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Jon Cryer also took to Twitter to recognize that whatever anyone thought of Lewis personally, his influence was undeniable: “If u are in comedy, you’ve been influenced by him, whether u know it or not. RIP.”

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“Jerry Lewis has passed on,” wrote Patton Oswalt. “I sincerely hope his afterlife is a warm, peaceful … haven.”

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Sean Hayes chose Instagram to pay tribute to “one of my comedy heroes” who was “a gigantic inspiration.” Hayes, like many of his colleagues who paid tribute, expressed gratitude “to have shared some valuable time with him.”

Lewis’ death appeared to hit Dane Cook particularly hard as he wrote several tweets about the man he characterized as his “mentor & friend” as well as “a true innovator & icon.”

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Gilbert Gottfried referenced the way France seemed to have a soft spot for Lewis: “The French were right about him all along. RIP Jerry Lewis.”

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Rose Marie, who starred in the Dick Van Dyke Show, got a bit personal in her tribute, writing that Lewis “was an angel to me” and she “will never forget what he did for me during one of the worst times in my life.”

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Rob Schneider let his shock come through in his tribute: “Oh NOOOOO!!! Jerry Lewis just died! Another comic legend has left us. Martin&Lewis were the Beatles of comedy! Nobody was EVER bigger!”

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Kumail Nanjiani wrote that he “was the biggest Jerry Lewis fan in the world” when he was a kid.

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Chelsea Peretti took a slightly different path, recalling how Lewis infamously wasn’t too fond of women doing comedy: “even tho u said women arent funny rest in peeeeeeeaaacccccceeeeee.”

This post has been updated with new reactions since it was first published.

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