Jerry Lewis, the US comedy star from the 1950s and 1960s who later poured his efforts into raising money for muscular dystrophy research, will get a special tribute at next month's Cannes Film Festival, organisers said on Thursday.

Lewis, 87 and with a history of ill-health, has a strong following in France, which awarded him the Legion of Honour in 1984.

After launching a career in post-World War II radio with Dean Martin, Lewis branched out on his own, mining success with manic, slapstick films such as "The Nutty Professor" and "The Delicate Delinquent."

He is best known today for launching marathon fund-raising on television for muscular dystrophy, which is emulated in France.

Lewis will attend a screening of his latest film, "Max Rose," in which he plays the role of an elderly jazz pianist facing the loss of his wife.

The Festival runs on the Riviera from May 15-26.