Jerry Lewis made sure that none of his children would be able to profit off his death, with the legendary funnyman’s final will and testament leaving the entirety of his estate to second wife SanDee.
The former Las Vegas dancer that Lewis began having an affair with while still married to his wife will receive all of her late husband’s personal and household affects as per his instructions in a document that was signed back in 2012.
Lewis also named SanDee as his personal representative.
This means that nothing will go to his seven children, something that Lewis drove home by writing in the will: ‘I intentionally and with full knowledge omitted to provide for my heirs.’
A provision was included that stated Lewis’ adopted daughter Danielle could have received all of her father’s personal and household affects had her mother passed away within 30 days of the actor’s death, but that was not the case.
Lewis is believed to have left behind a rather modest estate in terms of cash and property, with the real money coming in the form of his intellectual property.
The actor owned almost all of his most famous films outright, including ‘Cinderfella,’ ‘The Nutty Professor’ and ‘Hardly Working.’
Second time’s the charm: Jerry Lewis left his entire estate to second wife SanDee (pair above in 1984), while also naming her as his personal representative
Dissing the daughter: His adopted daughter Danielle (above with SanDee and Lewis in 2014) with his second wife and his six chidlren from his first marriage received nothing
Strong words: ‘I have intentionally excluded Gary Lewis, Ronald Lewis, Anthony Joseph Lewis, Christopher Joseph Lewis, Scott Anthony Lewis, and Joseph Christopher Lewis and their descendants as beneficiaries of my estate,’ wrote Lewis (l to r: Jerry and first wife Patti Palmer with their six sons)
Dear departed dad: ‘I intentionally and with full knowledge omitted to provide for my heirs,’ stated Lewis in the document, signed in 2012 (above)
The legendary funnyman also made a point of clearly stating in the legal filing that his six sons with first wife, British-born singer Patti Palmer, were to get nothing upon his death.
‘I have intentionally excluded Gary Lewis, Ronald Lewis, Anthony Joseph Lewis, Christopher Joseph Lewis, Scott Anthony Lewis, and Joseph Christopher Lewis and their descendants as beneficiaries of my estate, it being my intention that they shall receive no benefits hereunder,’ declared Lewis in his will, which was last updated four years before his death.
Lewis kept Joseph in the will despite the fact that he passed away in 2009 – three years prior to the date the document was executed – as the result of a drug overdose.
Lewis was married to his first wife Palmer from 1944 until 1980.
The couple welcomed Gary in 1946, Ronald in 1949, Scott in 1956, Christopher in 1957, and Anthony in 1959.
The Blast first obtained and reported on Lewis’ will.
The couple’s sixth and youngest son Joseph was born in 1965 and passed away at the age of 45 from a heroin overdose.
At the time of his death he had not spoken to his father in 20 years, with Lewis refusing to even pay for his funeral.
He also allegedly asked Joseph’s five brothers to keep his death quiet in hopes that the media would not find out about the overdose.
Joseph spent his time eating at soup kitchens and living in homeless shelters over the course of his life as a result of his battle with drugs.
He also sold a story about his father in 1989 to the National Enquirer, saying that he and his five brothers were viciously beaten by the entertainer as children.
‘Living with him was pure hell. I’ve tried drugs. I’ve tried therapy and the truth still hurts, my father doesn’t love me,’ said Joseph in that interview.
At the time of his death he had three sons, aged 10, 18 and 20, who had never once met their grandfather.
Gary, Lewis’ oldest son, found fame as a member of the music group Gary Lewis & The Playboys, who had a number one hit back in 1964 with ‘This Diamond Ring.’
He too spoke out against his father after his younger brother’s death, saying he blamed the man for Joseph’s passing.
Grim hope: Danielle could have received the personal and household affects of her father had SanDee died within 30 days of Lewis’ death (provision above)
Nutty: Jerry Lewis wrote in his final will and testament that his six biological children were to receive no part of his estate (Jerry and son Gary above in 2004)
Baby boy: Jerry Lewis with his youngest son Joseph (above in 1964) , who he stopped speaking with in 1989 after he sold a story detailing the beatings he and his brothers received from the funnyman
Tragedy: At the time of his death Joseph had not spoken to his father in 20 years, with Lewis refusing to even pay for his funeral.
Tortured existence: Joseph spent his time eating at soup kitchens and living in homeless shelters over the course of his life as a result of his battle with drugs
Gary told the National Enquirer in a 2010 interview: ‘Jerry Lewis is a mean and evil person. He was never loving and caring toward me or my brothers.’
He went on to say: ‘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.’
Gary then added: ‘[My father] doesn’t really care. He’s more worried about his career and his image than his own family.’
Lewis lamented the passing of his son however in a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which came two years after he had executed his final will.
‘To this day I don’t understand it because it’s unfair — not unfair to me, but unfair to him,’ said Lewis.
‘That he went that way made the unfairness stupidity. But he was my son and he’s gone, and there’s not a lot I can do about that. I beat myself a thousand times. Sam will come to me and say, ‘Are we beating ourselves again?’ I will say, ‘A little bit.”
He went on to say that his wife would then tell him: ”You had nothing to do with that. You sent him out into the world when he was 25. You sent what you thought was a perfect human being. What he did with his time away from you is what the end result showed.”
Charmer: Danielle’s half-siblings, including Lewis’ dead son, were very clearly identified as persona non grata by their father in the will (above)
Bleak portrait: ‘Living with him was pure hell. I’ve tried drugs. I’ve tried therapy and the truth still hurts, my father doesn’t love me,’ said Joseph a 1989 interview (Lewis and first wife Patti with sons Ronald, Christopher, Scott and Gary in 1958)
Happier times: Patti said Lewis had ‘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’ (family above circa 1960)
Lewis then added: ‘But I’ll tell you this: You don’t get over that.’
Those comments were a far cry from the ones he had made just five years prior, calling his son a ‘dope addict’ and showing no emotion over his death.
Lewis also had a difficult relationship with his first wife, who sued him in 1980 when she filed for divorce, demanding $450,000 a year to support herself and son Joseph.
She said in her filing that her husband had ‘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.’
Patti also cited her husband’s affair with SanDee, who would later become his second wife, in her filing, saying that he ‘lavished gifts of jewelry and luggage on [his mistress] in Paris, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Florida.’
Lewis also allegedly has an illegitimate daughter Suzann who was born out of wedlock in the 1950s during his three-year affair with model Lynn Dixon.
Suzann is currently homeless.
The manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin before settling down to become a self-conscious screen auteur passed away in August.
He died at the age of 91 in his Las Vegas home surrounded by family, referring to his second wife SanDee and Danielle.
Just a few weeks after he passed authorities revealed that Lewis he died as a result of end-stage cardiac disease and peripheral vascular disease.
His later years were spent off the big screen but still maintaining his larger-than-life profile as the national spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, with his MDA telethons and events raising over $2.5billion over the years.