Gary, Lewis’s oldest son, achieved fame himself as a member of the group “Gary Lewis & The Playboys.” The band had a number one hit in 1964 called “This Diamond Ring.” Gary has spoken out against his father and their troubled relationship.
Gary has expressed how he has felt that he wished he and his brothers were closer to his father over the years and that growing up, it felt like his father was more concerned with his career and image than his family.
A Celeb Feud to End All Feuds
We all love a juicy celebrity feud, but the one that involves Jerry Lewis and Joan Rivers, probably two of the greatest comedians who ever lived, was pretty heavy. As the story goes, Rivers cracked a joke at Lewis's expense, saying, "Jerry Lewis has to be thankful that he has the telethon because it helps his career."
Lewis was not going to stand for that and wrote her a cold letter saying, "Dear Ms. Rivers, we’ve never met, and I’m looking forward to keeping it that way." The letter went on to describe some very nasty things. Apparently, the jokester couldn't take a joke himself.
Strained Family Ties
Lewis had a complicated finally life. One of his sons, Joseph, tragically passed away at the age of 45 from complications relating to substance abuse. At the time of his passing, they hadn't spoken in 20 years. Though there was a lot of bad blood initially, Lewis was hit hard by the tragedy.
Lewis reportedly asked his other five sons to keep the passing quiet as the reasons would have been media fodder. As time went by, Lewis made peace with his anger, and in his own words, said, "you don’t get over [something like] that."
The Mystery Daughter
For years rumors ran that Lewis fathered an illegitimate daughter with the model Lynn Dixon. His daughter is said to be Suzan Minoret. But for years, Lewis stayed quiet on the matter; in 2009, "Inside Edition" dug into it and performed genetic testing on Minoret.
The results stated that there was more than 88% likelihood that he was the father. Sadly, the comedian reportedly ordered Dixon to never contact him again.
The Good and The Bad
Despite the strained relationship he had with his family, Lewis was no doubt loved by many. During his prime, he was dubbed "a virtually unprecedented force in American popular culture." Even months before his passing, the great comedian brought smiles to people's faces.
Even at 91 years old, Lewis appeared on the popular series created by one of his biggest fans, Jerry Seinfeld. The show "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" (hosted by Seinfeld himself) celebrates comedians. The two comics laughed and discussed jokes and life in showbiz over a cup of coffee.