'A genius comedian': Hollywood says goodbye to Jerry Lewis

Comedians in Hollywood are paying tribute to one of their own and a trailblazer in slapstick, Jerry Lewis.

Jim Carry, Bette Midler and Robert De Niro are among those celebrating the actor-comedian who died at age 91

Many comedians in Hollywood are expressing their condolences following the death of Jerry Lewis, seen here in 2013 in Cannes, France. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

Comedians in Hollywood are paying tribute to one of their own and a trailblazer in slapstick, Jerry Lewis.

Ontario-born Jim Carrey credited Lewis with being a major influence on his career.

"That fool was no dummy. Jerry Lewis was an undeniable genius an unfathomable blessing, comedy's absolute! I am because he was!"

Lewis died of natural causes Sunday with his family by his side in Las Vegas, Nev. at age 91.

He was known for such favourites as The BellboyThe Nutty Professor, and the 1982 Martin Scorsese-directed satire The King of Comedy.

Director Martin Scorsese (left), comedian Jerry Lewis (middle), and actor Robert De Niro attend The King of Comedy screening gala during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

"Jerry was a pioneer in comedy and film," his King of Comedy co-star, Robert De Niro, said in a statement.

"And he was a friend. I was fortunate to have seen him a few times over the past couple of years. Even at 91, he didn't miss a beat. Or a punchline. You'll be missed."

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel called Lewis a "genius comedian" and "as a Las Vegan, what I miss most."

Lewis' career began at the age of five in his parents' vaudeville act. At the age of 20, he was paired with Dean Martin, which catapulted the comic duo into fame.

Lewis, at right, joined late singer and actor Dean Martin to become a comic duo of international fame early in their careers. (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

"So saddened to learn of the passing of Jerry Lewis, a true comic icon. In Boston 1947 I roared at his and Dean's first ever performance," said 95-year-old Emmy-winning comic actor Carl Reiner, who has worked closely during his career with comedians Steve Martin, Mel Brooks and on the Dick Van Dyke Show.

Bette Midler described Lewis as a "complicated soul" who "made the whole world laugh."

The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani posted on Twitter: "As a kid, I'm pretty sure I was the biggest Jerry Lewis fan in the world."

Writer-actor Marlon Wayans, Will & Grace's Sean Hayes and stand-up comedian Dane Cook referred to Lewis as a hero and mentor.

Lewis was as recognized for his comedy as he was for his annual telethon to raise money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the U.S. 

The View's Whoopi Goldberg posted on Twitter about the "millions of kids he helped with his telethons."

Lewis' death comes one day after the passing of comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory at age 84 in Washington, D.C.

Jim Carrey, Bette Midler and Robert De Niro are among those celebrating the actor-comedian who died Sunday 2:01

With files from the Associated Press