The Bittersweet Life of Jerry Lewis: Fame, Fortune, and Resentment

The Making of the Man

Jerry Lewis found success in television, movies, nightclubs, on Broadway, and in university lecture halls. He had his career ups and downs, but at his peak, he was one of the biggest stars in the country. And it was a quick rise to stardom, too. But before we get to his superstardom, let’s look a little bit closer at the making of the man.


Jerry Lewis At His Press Conference At The Savoy Hotel In London With Miss Canada Diane Coulter. Photo By John Twine/Associated Newspapers/Shutterstock

He was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of Daniel “Danny” Levitch, a vaudeville performer with the stage name of Danny Lewis. Lewis’s mother was Rachael “Rae” Levitch, a pianist as well as her husband’s music director. Lewis eventually stopped calling himself Joseph and Joey as he got older, to avoid being confused with Joe E. Lewis and Joe Louis.

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