American comedian and actor Jerry Lewis has become an honorary member of the Order of Australia for his services to charity.
Lewis has been recognised for raising $2.6 billion for muscular dystrophy research, and also creating awareness of the disease.
Accepting the award, Lewis said he was thrilled.
“It’s a very big thrill. It’s an honour,” he said.
“It’s a country I love next to mine.”
When asked why Australians gave him the award, he said: “[For] good and funny work.”
Australia’s Ambassador to the United States, Kim Beazley, made the presentation at a ceremony in Las Vegas.
Mr Beazley said Australians would be more likely to know the 88-year-old for his contribution to the arts.
“People 20 years younger than me and 20 years older than me, these three generations would think that what I am doing here today is standing up to honour a great artist,” he said.
“A man who has made life joyful on a global basis, including therefore in Australia.
Actor Jerry Lewis wearing his medal recognising him as an honorary member of the Order of Australia for his services to charity.
“This campaign of Mr Lewis has been at the heart of not simply the extension of cures but research to deal with the problem.
“You simply cannot believe the amount of money he has raised in his lifetime, $2.6 billion through a variety of charitable programs, telethons in particular.”
Lewis has been the international patron of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of Australia since 2009.
He has supported fundraising for research into the condition since the 1950s and hosted a national telethon in the US for almost four decades.