The Clown: Jerry Lewis, the original Nutty Professor
Crying on the Outside: Revered by the French as an auteur of the absurd, back at home in the States Lewis was damned with faint praise as a mere goofball.
Lewis’ first attempt to prove his detractors wrong became one of Hollywood's most intriguing disasters. 1972 Holocaust drama The Day the Clown Cried proved so controversial it remains unreleased and largely unseen.
But Martin Scorsese made Lewis’ prickly personality central to The King of Comedy's funny peculiar rhythms.As talk-show host and grouchy egomaniac Jerry Langford, Lewis is utterly convincing.
Give Up the Day Job? Sort of; Lewis soon settled into semi-retirement. However, The King of Comedy did anticipate similar ‘elder statesmen’ cameos in Funny Bones and The Simpsons (playing the father of Professor Frink, a character knowingly modelled on Lewis’ Nutty Professor).