Jerry Lewis has been accused of ‘appalling’ behaviour after storming off stage just five minutes into a charity fundraiser.
The comic legend walked out of the ￡50-a-head breakfast this morning after a circuit breaker tripped, halting a video retrospective of his work.
The 84-year-old is said to have muttered ‘no, no, no’ as he departed, leaving an organiser to apologise to the audience of 650, explaining that Lewis had decided ‘it wasn’t for him’.
Despite complaints, the venue in Melbourne, Australia, said no one asked for their money back. Funds from the event were going to aid muscular dystrophy sufferers – a cause Lewis has raised more than ￡1.5billion for though high-profile telethons in the States.
However, he has a fearsome reputation as a perfectionist, which is thought to be why he abandoned the show, much to the disappointment of the audience.
Businesswoman Catherine Cincotta Tweeted: ‘You prima donna, you. People pay $1,000 a table for your charity event and you say performing is not your "thing".’
Another audience member accused him of ‘chucking a hissy fit’.
Ann Hawley said the comedian’s behaviour was ‘appalling’, telling The Age newspaper: ‘To behave in this manner left the audience dumbfounded.’
Lewis is also said to have commented that the 6.30am gig was ‘like performing to an audience of cadavers’.
Slapstick icon Lewis famously collapsed backstage at a London Palladium gig in his honour in 2002, moments before he was due to go on stage.