Earlier this month, TIME sent contract photographer Marco Grob to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville to photograph comedian Jerry Lewis. Now 86 years old, Lewis, profiled by Richard Zoglin in this week’s issue of TIME, is filling his days directing a musical version of The Nutty Professor—adapted from the film he originally wrote and starred in back in 1963. The new stage version, in collaboration with the late composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Rupert Holmes, is being performed at TPAC through the end of the weekend in a bid for a slot on Broadway.
Although he’s photographed subjects as diverse as Hillary Clinton and Lady Gaga, Grob still felt nervous as he waited for Lewis to arrive for his portrait shoot. Experience photographing other comedians led Grob to expect Lewis to be a handful—a worry that proved to be completely unfounded when the legendary funny man showed up.
During the ten-minute shoot, Grob learned that Lewis shared a passion for photography. ”He carries a camera with him everywhere he goes,” says Grob. “It’s pretty much the same equipment we use to film. He’s very professional.”
Grob was also excited to photograph a man he had grown up watching on television. “He’s a legend in Europe,” says the Swiss-born Grob. “It’s always fascinating to meet people who were around all my lifespan, especially someone with as crazy a career as Jerry.”