Friday, January 08, 2010

Gary Lewis blames Jerry for brother's death

The great Jerry Lewis has made millions laugh and helped millions live, but like Bing Crosby and John Lennon and so many other great figures before him, has not managed to work the same magic within his own family. Word this morning is that Joseph Lewis, his 45-year-old son and a black sheep in the family for more than twenty years, has died, and that another of Jerry's troubled sons is blaming his father for the tragedy.

Joseph Lewis was estranged from his father for years. We recall that extra security was added to the Jerry Lewis Telethon in Las Vegas in 1989 (recounted in Tabloid Baby's Chapter Six, Lesbians, Cripples & Clowns), when word spread that Joe was somewhere outside, looking to attack his father. And as he has year after year, Jerry's eldest son Gary was allowed to perform for the national audience at that telethon with the latest version of his group, the Playboys.

Today, the story of Joey's death after suffering a seizure in Utah is accompanied by statements from Gary Lewis in which he blames the death in part on his father, for turning his back on the drug-addicted son.

Gary Lewis tells The Globe:

"Joe had problems his entire life and I blame our father. Jerry Lewis is a mean and evil person. He was never loving and caring toward me or my brothers.

"I don't know if Joe's death is drug related, but I believe it could have been prevented if he and my father had been on better terms. I believe he partly died of a broken heart.

"(My father) doesn't really care. He's more worried about his career and his image than his own family."

Comedy is not funny.


kskydog said...

thank you for your article

joe was one of my dearest friends
he knew how much i loved his dad and his work
and he never had an ill word to say about jerry

not to me at least

he told me some hilarious stories about growing up with jerry and the quality time he spent with his dad in Vegas

he was so proud of his brother gary too
i know you were close

the last time i heard from joe, he was reunited with his little family and doing great

it is with deep sorrow to hear that my buddy is gone,
but i know he would like all to know that in spite of his relationship with jerry
he loved him and admired him with all of his heart

i'll miss you joe -
a chip off the ol' block
in many loving ways

my condolences to all of the lewis'

kenny 'the skydog'

Sarah Jewel said...

Having dated and lived with Joe for two years (2001-2002), I can honestly say that his father probably did ruin him. For good. Joe revealed everything to me about his homelife growing up. And it was not a pleasant way to live.

Joe was a very special, loving, out-for-a-laugh guy and regardless of what happened with he and I, deserves the respect of his FATHER, especially after his death, since that's all he ever truly wanted.

This is a tragedy and I'm stunned and saddened by it immensely.

I can only pray he's in a better place right now.

Anonymous said...

Joe was a a kind and loving man that I believe had no sense of direction. I blame this on his father. When a child does not know how to adapt to the real world, especially if the child had been pampered all his life, of course the child is going to grow up not know how to function in the world. One time when I was driving him to the airport I told him that he had to get things in order in his life and he replied, "but I don't know how" At which point he began to cry. I have not been in touch with Joe for at least four years, but I thought about him often. I even have a photo of him and I on Thanksgiving day 2003 in my office.

Hearing the news of his loss is tragic. I was a blessed man to have know him and share some great times together. If anyone know where he was laid to rest please let me know. God bless you Joe. Thank you and I miss you. Rudy@americanamp.com

Anonymous said...

In the mid to late 70s I visited the Las Vegas Country Club every Friday for lunch. It was my experience to see Jerry Lewis often, and he never failed to DISGUST me with his childish self-absorbed behavior. I grew up loving everything he did until I saw how he really is.

Toluca said...

I worked with Joe at the Picwood movie theatres in Los angeles (where the westside side pavilion now stands)when we both were around 16 years old (around 1980). We worked many of the same shifts. It was when Apocalypse now was out in theatres. Back then movies stayed in theatres for months. We both had the movie memorized. He was a good kid. We became good work friends. He would share with me how his father treated him, and I remember how sad and hurt he was by it. He really wanted a close relationship with his father, even though his father treated him badly. Today, my mind went back to those childhood days, so I did a quick search to see if Joe was in LA. I am very sad to see that he passed away back in 2010. And even sadder to see that he never had that close relationship with his dad that he craved so much as a 16 yr old fragile kid. I have 3 kids, I really don't understand how a father can treat their children like this.