Mother: Rae (Brodsky) Levitch (Rae Lewis – stage name), piano player
Marriages: Sandra (Pitnick) Lewis (February 13, 1983-present); Patti Palmer (1944-1982, divorced)
with Sandra Lewis: Danielle; with Patti Palmer: Joseph, Anthony, Christopher, Scott, Ronald and Gary
Made his debut at age five, singing “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” at a resort.
Was nominated for an Emmy Award.
Became a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the 1940s.
Often talks about himself in the third person.
1946-1956 – Partners with Dean Martin for nightclub acts, television appearances and 16 movies.
1963 – The film “The Nutty Professor,” in which Lewis acted and directed, is released.
1966 – Hosts his first televised Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Labor Day telethon. This becomes an annual event.
1967 – Teaches a graduate course in film at the University of Southern California.
1976 – Frank Sinatra orchestrates a surprise reunion between Lewis and Dean Martin on a MDA telethon.
1983 – The film “The King of Comedy,” which features Lewis’ first dramatic role, is released.
1984 – Inducted into the French Legion of Honor.
1995 – Makes his Broadway debut in “Damn Yankees.”
1995 – Begins traveling to medical schools to present, with Dr. Clifford Kuhn, a seminar on laughter and healing.
September 2005 –
Receives the Governors Award at the Creative Emmy Awards
in recognition for his work on behalf of muscular dystrophy.
June 11, 2006 – Suffers a mild heart attack on a flight from New York to San Diego.
September 3, 2007 –
In the 18th hour of the annual Labor Day
Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy, Lewis uses an anti-gay slur while cracking jokes
. He later apologizes in a written statement.
February 22, 2009 – Receives the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
at the Academy Awards ceremony.
May 16, 2011 – Announces retirement
as MDA telethon host.
August 3, 2011 –
The MDA announces that Lewis is retiring
as national chairman.
September 14, 2015 – The Library of Congress announces its has acquired Lewis’ personal archive.