Legendary comedians Jerry Lewis, Dick Gregory die in US

Updated 2017-08-21 10:01:50 CGTN/Agencies

The entertainment world has lost two legendary comedians over the weekend.

Veteran Hollywood comedian Jerry Lewis, who died Sunday aged 91, perfected a goofy brand of slapstick that endeared him to millions over the course of a career spanning six decades.

The comedy legend, who at the peak of his popularity was among the world biggest movie draws, died at his home in Las Vegas early Sunday morning.

Just a day before, U.S. comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who broke barriers as a performer in the era of segregation and challenged racism through searing humor, died Saturday night, his family said. He was 84.

One of the most popular American entertainers of the 1950s and '60s, Lewis made his name as the clown behind such quirky comedies like "The Nutty Professor" but also won acclaim as a writer, actor and philanthropist.

Honored with accolades at home and abroad, including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and France's Legion of Honor, Lewis became known as much for his tireless efforts to promote awareness of Muscular Dystrophy as for his wacky comedy.

Over the course of 45 years, he raised some 2.45 billion U.S. dollars for combating the disease with an annual television event.

Dick Gregory performed in the country's top clubs in the early 1960s and was not shy about confronting his white audiences with the realities of racism.

Gregory was credited with laying the groundwork for black comics who would come later, particularly Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor.

Later on in the 1960s, he became a fervent front-line activist on various racial and social causes. In later decades, he became known variously as a prodigious hunger striker, conspiracy theorist, diet guru and health food advocate.

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