Although he endured years of abuse and got cut out of Jerry Lewis’s will, one of his sons wishes that he has just one chance to tell his father that he loved him. But after the comedy legend passed away in August 2017, his son missed the opportunity. Since then Anthony Lewis has opened up to the press about how he endured physical and emotional abuse by the hands of the comedian.
“He wanted nothing to do with me,” Anthony Lewis told Inside Edition. “I knew that I wasn’t going to get anything but the real sticking point, the dagger in my heart is for the grandchildren.”
Although Lewis had amassed an estimated $50 million estate, the comedy legend made sure his will did not include any of his five surviving sons. Instead, he wanted them to receive nothing and to be disinherited.
The sons of the comedy legend were from his marriage to Patti Palmer, his first wife. Lewis married her in 1944, but they divorced in 1980.
Anthony Lewis was born in 1959 and was Lewis’s fifth son. The youngest son died in 2009 from a reported drug overdose.
Anthony admitted that he was terrified every night. While growing up, he never knew if the good or the bad Jerry Lewis would walk in the front door.
“When he would show up and park right in front of the big front door, my mom would get on the intercom and say, ‘Your father is home!’ We scattered. We could never predict his behavior on a given day,” Anthony said.
Anthony admits that his father took the belt to him on several occasion. But that wasn’t what scarred him for life. It was the vicious emotional abuse that ruined his life.
“He was emotionally abusive every day,” he said.
During their childhood, the Lewis family lived like kings and queens at their mansion in Bel-Air, California.
“It was the highest echelon of Hollywood —the absolute highest,” he said. “My father was the top box office draw on planet Earth.”
But as time passed, Jerry Lewis didn’t want anything to do with his family. And this caused a lot of strife within the clan. Eventually, Anthony filed a lawsuit against his father for his mother. She had been married to Jerry Lewis for 38 years.
“Do I let my mother go on the streets or do I sue my father?” Anthony said.
Jerry Lewis did not take the lawsuit lightly. To fight back, he disinherited his son. And after Lewis had died, three of his five sons were barred from attending the funeral. He wanted nothing to do with his first family.
Anthony, Gary, and Ron were not invited to the funeral. But brothers Scott and Chris were welcomed to attend. But every brother was shut out of the will, whether they got a funeral invite or not.
In the ultimate slap in the face, Lewis left his entire multi-million-dollar estate to his second wife and their adopted daughter, Danielle.
Anthony did not receive a penny from his father. But he regrets that he didn’t get a chance to make things right between them.
“I am really sorry I didn’t have any one-on-one time to express that I loved him,” he said.