Lewis health drama
Veteran comic rushed to hosptial
Jerry Lewis has collapsed moments before he was due on a London stage.
The 76-year-old comedy legend was rushed to hospital from the London Palladium, where he was expected to headline a charity benefit.
But at the end of the fundraising show, a stunned audience was told that Lewis had fallen ill.
Compere Steven Alan Green, who was visibly shaken, said: "About ten minutes ago, Jerry was taken seriously ill and taken to hospital.
"We're very concerned about his health. I am terribly sorry. Pray for Jerry."
He gave no details of Lewis's illness, although the comic has been suffering from the lung condition pulmonary fibrosis.
At his annual US telethon to raise funds for muscular dystrophy last week, Lewis appeared swollen from the effects of steroids,
Green said later: "I saw him collapse backstage out of the corner of my eye.
"He was watching screen clips of an earlier shows from behind the stage when he just sat back. I hope it's nothing too serious."
This is the latest in a string of health problems for Lewis. In 1982 he was declared clinically dead after a heart attack, 10 years later he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and five years after that he found out he had diabetes.
Two years ago on tour in Australia he was found to be suffering from spiral meningitis.
Green had organised the High On Laughter evening in aid of drug clinic Turning Point Scotland and had invited a raft of American and British comics onto the bill, including Emo Philips, Bobcat Goldthwaite and Daniel Kitson.
Earlier in the evening Kitson had joked: "It's always been my dream to play a third-full London Palladium to people who are here to watch a dying man."
It would have been a rare London appearance for Lewis, who first trod the Palladium boards 50 years ago with Dean Martin. His last British appearance was in 1997.
Posted: 9 Sep 2002