The late Jerry Lewis has been cancelled for gross sexual misbehavior that happened between 57 and 60 years ago.
In a 2.23 Vanity Fair report that includes a nine-minute video essay by documentarians Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick (Allen v. Farrow), actors Hope Holiday and Karen Kramer (formerly Karen Sharpe) recall Lewis having made crude overtures during the making of The Ladies Man (61) and The Disorderly Orderly (’64), respectively.
Lewis didn’t assault Holiday and Kramer but certainly made things unpleasant, they’re saying. Plus he punished them socially and whatnot for having refused his advances.
For decades we’d all understood that Lewis was a very tough interview and that he had a dark streak, and now we’ve been told that he acted like a dog with lower-tier actresses whom he thought he could manipulate, etc. Old-time Hollywood hotshots were taught by their culture that they could get away with crass sexual behavior, and for decades nobody said boo. But since the 2017 Harvey Weinstein revelations Hollywood culture has been encouraging victims to come forward and point fingers at the bad guys. The Lewis saga is what it is — obviously distasteful but not especially surprising, given the rules of the game in the bad old days.
If I’d been in Holiday or Kramer’s offended shoes, perturbed if not seething for decades about Lewis’s on-set behavior during the Kennedy and LBJ administrations, I probably would have gone public while he was still with us. I would have demanded a response and at least had the satisfaction of having done so while he was still walking around. Lewis passed on 8.20.17.