Comedian Jerry Lewis, who once played an absent-minded professor and disorderly orderly, is now a doctor.
During Lewis' just concluded 45th Labor Day weekend Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, Chapman University president Jim Doti presented the host an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Orange institution.
Turns out Lewis has had quite close ties to Chapman, whose co-eds include a Jerry's kid. That's not a reference to a young MDA beneficiary but his 19-year-old daughter Danielle Lewis, who is enrolled there.
Lewis has reportedly said "losing my daughter to college" prompted him to agree to leave his Las Vegas empty nest every two weeks to teach Chapman classes. He is used to the professorial life. That's not a reference to The Nutty Professor but Lewis having taught directorial classes for nine years at USC, where his students included future Hollywood icons Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Peter Bogdanovich.
Last spring, Lewis delivered a lecture at Chapman's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and appeared as a guest on Dialogue with Doti and Dodge, the college prez's interview show on KOCE-TV and The OC Channel.
Strolling up to the stage at the telethon's production site in Las Vegas on live television with Chapman trustee S. Paul Musco, Chapman President's Cabinet member Milan Panic and MDA Vice President Frank DiBella by his side, Doti bestowed the doctorate to Lewis "in honor of your magnificent work on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association--it is truly the stuff of miracles."
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Actually, Doti pronounced it "mignificent," but that's not important right now. What is important is this year's telethon raised $58,919,838 in contributions and pledges. Here's video of the presentation:
That's not the last Chapman honor for Lewis, who is scheduled to receive the university's Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award during the annual American Celebration stage show and gala fund-raiser on Nov. 6. (Tickets are on sale at now; get info via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.)
During that ceremony, we imagine Lewis soaking in a standing ovation from the campus French club as he says of the shapely young woman handing him his award, "Pretty laaaaaaady!"
Then it's off to treat members of the university's respected Holocaust education program to a private screening of The Day the Clown Cried.
Steer clear of Rupert Pupkin, Jer. Knowing Chapman, they probably have a bust of him somewhere.