Jerry Lewis lived an incredible life before passing away on Sunday, August 20, at age 91. The star made fans around the world laugh, but Lewis' life was much more complicated than his relatable comedy routines. America's beloved clown, who performed with partner Dean Martin before launching a successful solo career, lived life to the fullest, with numerous highs and lows. Scroll through Radar's gallery for more on Lewis' secrets and scandals.
Lewis and Martin feuded even though they were one of the most acclaimed comedy teams of all time. Martin played straight man to wacky Lewis in their act which included stage, TV and film in the '40s and '50s. But after the two went their separate ways, Lewis admitted in an interview, they "never talked after that for another 10 or 15 years." They reconciled their friendship after Martin's son, Dean Jr., died tragically in a plane crash and Lewis reached out. The two saw each other a few times before Martin died of emphysema in 1995.
Lewis had a bitter divorce from Patti Lewis, his first wife from 1944 to 1980. Patti, mother of their six sons, slapped him with legal papers saying the star, "has displayed an open disregard for our marriage, and I am a 'financial puppet' at the mercy of his office, with no money of my own," as PEOPLE reported.
According to PEOPLE sources at the time, Lewis' first wife Patti believed he was cheating on her with former stewardess SanDee Pitnick (who became his second wife in 1983). Patti complained that Lewis lived in Las Vegas with Pitnick—and he "lavished gifts of jewelry and luggage on his woman friend in Paris, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Florida."
Lewis' youngest son, Joe, blasted his famous father in a shocking National ENQUIRER story. Joe charged years ago that Lewis was a cold and uncaring dad who regularly threatened and beat his sons while they were growing up. However, Lewis denied Joe's claims and said he was troubled. In 2009, tragedy struck when Lewis' son Joe, a longtime drug addict, committed suicide at age 45.
Lewis had a ton of health problems in his life and was addicted to the painkiller Percodan for thirteen years following a back injury. He endured heart attacks and viral meningitis. In June 2017, Lewis was hospitalized in Las Vegas after suffering from a urinary tract infection, as Radar reported. Although he'd fought back bravely many times, in August, he died.
Lewis was revered for working tirelessly on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. But the wheels came off in 2007, when the star, then 81, reportedly introduced an unseen person with a description that sounded like "the illiterate faggot." Lewis apologized for the remark, saying it was a "joking comment" intended for a member of his production team. But the un-PC entertainer had come under fire before after he said in a 2001 CBS News interview, "You don't want to be pitied for being a cripple in a wheelchair? Stay in your house." He's also been blasted for sexism.
Lewis and his second wife Pitnick, who survives him, adopted a daughter. Pitnick was a much younger woman--when they wed, Lewis was 57 and she was 32.
Suzan Lewis, a woman claiming to be Lewis's daughter, came forward in 2009 with alleged DNA proof that her claims were true. Lewis has since gone on to write an autobiography called Jerry Lewis, My Father, Is Always in My Mirror.
We pay for juicy info! Do you have a story for RadarOnline.com? Email us at email@example.com, or call us at (866) ON-RADAR (667-2327) any time, day or night.