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Jerry Lewis at Cannes

Jerry Lewis at Cannes

May 7, 1983: Jerry Lewis strikes a classic pose while arriving at the opening ceremonies of the Cannes Film Festival accompanied by his wife, SanDee.  His film, “King of Comedy,” was the opening movie.

In a May 9, 1983, Times article, writer Roderick Mann reported:

Usually the first day here is fairly dull. But, determined to get this year’s festival off to a gold-plated start, the organizers decided to present special awards to 14 artistes, among them Bette Davis, Liza Minnelli, Robert De Niro, Sophia Loren, Michele Morgan, Glenda Jackson and Charlotte Rampling. But at the last minute, realizing it was a long way to go to receive a statue of a woman with her legs in a corkscrew twist, Davis backed down. But the other 13 turned up and the festival was off to a glamorous start….

It’s just as well there was some offscreen glamour around to launch the festival because the film chosen for Saturday’s opening was Martin Scorsese’s “King of Comedy,” which had failed to generate much enthusiasm among American moviegoers. Critics were mixed in their reviews, but generally found the characters to be unsympathetic.

Although it may have seemed a curious choice for festival director Gilles Jacob to have made, it must be remembered that Jerry Lewis, who stars in the film with Robert De Niro, has been a very big name – indeed, almost a cult – in France for years. At the press conference before the showing of the film it was Lewis who got the biggest ovation….

The movie “The Meaning of Life” received the Grand Prize of the Jury at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

A different photo by former Times staff photographer Larry Armstrong was used with the above Mann article. Before retiring in 2001, Armstrong was the Times director of photography.

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