On Sunday, actor and comedian Jerry Lewis died at the age of 91. According to various reports, Lewis was at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the time of his death. The international star leaves behind a career of worldwide success, but Lewis, married twice, also leaves behind a wife and several children.
Lewis was probably best known for his starring role in the 1963 film The Nutty Professor. He also worked closely with fellow actor, comedian, and singer Dean Martin. His work in film, television, music, and theater earned Lewis worldwide recognition. His accolades came not just from the U.S., but also from France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Beyond his professional career, Lewis, like many celebrities, was also known for his off-stage life. He first married in 1944 at the age of 18. Reportedly, Lewis had only known singer Patti Palmer 10 days before they got married. They remained married for nearly 40 years, splitting in 1982. Together, Lewis and Palmer had five sons and adopted a sixth son. Five of Lewis' sons survive him, but Joseph Lewis, the actor's youngest son, died in 2009 from a narcotics overdose.
In 1983, Lewis remarried, tying the knot with Sandra "SanDee" Pitnick. It was the second marriage for both Lewis and Pitnick. The couple later adopted a daughter, Danielle Lewis. Danielle, who is in her 20s, also survives her 91-year-old father.
Little is known about Lewis' marriage to Pitnick beyond the gossip columns that materialized shortly after his first wife filed for divorce. In 1980, People magazine described Pitnick as "a former stewardess" who appeared in one of Lewis' movies, Hardly Working. More recently, The Hollywood Reporter profiled Lewis in 2014, describing him as "very close to" Pitnick. The article said that Lewis "chokes up merely speaking about" his second wife.
Beyond his marriages, Lewis is also known for his professional relationship with Dean Martin. Lewis and Martin began performing together in 1946, at clubs like New York's Copacabana and Hollywood's Slapsie Maxie's. Their comedic routines evolved into stunning careers for both men, but they famously went their separate ways in 1956.
Recently, Lewis had faced a series of health concerns and public controversies, including prostate cancer and innappropriate jokes, respectively. It's not clear what ultimately caused his death on Sunday, but his legacy will pervade the entertainment industry for years to come. That legacy will live on, in part, through the family he leaves behind.