When comedian Jerry Lewis died last year at the age of 91, his broad, rubber-faced clowning was considered strictly for children in the States, but in 2006, France awarded him a Commander of the Legion of Honor.

To determine why Lewis’ work deserves re-examination, it’s worth also checking out Shawn Levy’s 1996 biography King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis.

Lewis also changes filmmaking history by developing a technique called “Video assist.” Jerry Lewis the director had to know if Jerry Lewis the actor was hitting his marks so the gags worked on camera.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME. It’s fitting the new boxed set comes from Paramount because Lewis had an unusually free hand at the studio.

“Levy says t was a reason – Lewis had an arrangement other filmmakers would envy.”He started working at Paramount when he was a contract player with Hal Wallis.

A HAPPY ENDING. Lewis left Paramount for Columbia after The Family Jewels, and had intermittent success in the years that followed.

Levy’s book paints a warts and all portrait of the comic, but more than two decades later, he says Lewis sought and justly demanded attention.

“In the case of Jerry Lewis, it was in 1993 when the idea of writing about him came into my head. His autobiography was 11 years old, and the Arthur Marx book was about 20 years old, and the Richard Gehman’s book was 30 years old. None of them really told the story I really wanted to tell,” Levy says.