What Jerry Lewis singled out as his greatest accomplishment says so much about the person we’ve lost Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP
In this Aug. 24, 2016 photo, comedian Jerry Lewis reacts during an interview at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. Getting older has been frustrating. At 90, Lewis sometimes loses his train of thought and uses a cane and a wheelchair to get around. But his desire to connect with audiences, and with people, is undiminished. (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

During one of his last interviews, Jerry Lewis opened up about all of his life accomplishments and singled out one thing in particular as his proudest.

“It’s always family,” he said of his greatest achievement in eight decades.

Opening up about his wife SanDee Pitnick, whom he married in 1983, he said, “We’ve had 38 years, and she’s my right arm, left arm, both legs, head, lips and eyes. She’s one of those things people get lucky with.”

While he spoke with PEOPLE last September, Lewis also touched on how he still had many things he wanted to do in his life.

“You don’t think of your age when you’re working and doing what you love, but in reality, I’m running out of time, so I have a lot of stuff to do in not a lot of time,” he said.

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Despite his age and increasing health problems at the time, Lewis vowed to never stop doing what he loved: comedy.

“I never stop working,” he explained. “You always have your hand in it somewhere. I’m always thinking about future projects and at the same time trying to finish the project you’re in the middle off.”

After performing for 80 years, the task had become more difficult for him, and he described feeling limited in what he could do, saying, “You do feel limited … I can’t take a fall now like I did when I was 20. You think about getting old, but when you get there it’s not what you thought it would be. The thing I think disturbs me more than anything is I can’t take those falls anymore. That disturbs me, but at 90 you don’t fall – at least you don’t mean to fall.”


However, he managed to continue his love of comedy and being in front of the camera for as long as he could.

“That never stops,” he said. “That’s what drives you: the joy and excitement of doing what you love.”

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