Jerry Lewis Accused Of Sexual Harassment And Assault By Multiple Actresses

By Britta DeVore | 3 months ago

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Jerry Lewis is under fire from several women whom he has worked with over the years. Each ex-leading lady is alleging that the comedian both sexually harassed and assaulted them. The claims were brought to light during a set of interviews led by Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, the filmmaking team behind the Earth shattering and Emmy-winning documentary, Allen v. Farrow. After finishing their sit down chats with several of Lewis’ former co-stars, the duo compiled all of their conversations and turned them into a feature and short film for Vanity Fair’s yearly, “Hollywood Issue.” After setting out in 2017 to focus their lens on the countless abuse allegations that stem from tinsel town, the team discovered that many of the most disgusting claims centered around Lewis. 

In the piece, audiences will hear from actresses including Hope Holiday who was featured in The Ladies Man opposite Jerry Lewis; Jill St. John, who co-starred with the so-called King of Comedy in Who’s Minding the Store?; Anna Maria Alberghetti, who worked across from Lewis on Cinderfella; Karen Sharpe, who was Lewis’ leading lady in The Disorderly Orderly, the Oscar-nominated Renée Taylor; vocalist Lainie Kazan; and several others. Each of these women will come forward to share their uncomfortable and disturbing allegations against Lewis. While each claim is upsetting, Sharpe and Holiday’s assertions are certainly the most severe. 

jerry lewis karen sharpe disorderly orderly
Karen Sharpe and Jerry Lewis in The Disorderly Orderly (1964)

Following a costume fitting in Jerry Lewis’ private office, Sharpe alleges that the actor sent the other crew members away and proceeded to attack her. Claiming that he first “grabbed” her and then attempted to “fondle” her, Sharpe says she became “dumbstruck” as the legendary performer then began to take off his pants. Not having any of this, Sharpe claims that she fought Lewis off only to be hounded and harassed by her alleged pursuer in the following days as he made her time during filming a living hell. Sharpe asserts that Lewis did this by giving orders to other crew members to not speak to the actress and by refusing to rehearse with her. When she tried to leave the poor conditions on set, Sharpe says that she was not able to quit. 

Holiday alleges that she had a similar situation unfold with the actor. The pair’s acquaintance began when Holiday was just 13, but the events that allegedly took place wouldn’t occur until she was in her early 30s. In what sounds like a terrifying situation, Holiday claims that Lewis locked the young actress in his dressing room. After the door was secured behind them, Holiday asserts that she was “frightened” when Lewis started to “talk dirty” and began to masturbate. Following the actor’s alleged actions, the actress was torn about turning him into the Screen Actors Guild. She says that because Lewis was “very big at Paramount,” she “didn’t want to shake the boat” as she had a signed contract with both Jerry Lewis and the studio. She decided to stay quiet, until now. 

What will happen next is up in the air. As the #MeToo movement continues to chug along and attempts to seek the truth behind all claims made by women surrounding misconduct in Hollywood, the late Jerry Lewis may be their next focus. Soon, viewers will hear the allegations brought forth by the women and will be able to better form an opinion surrounding Hollywood’s latest scandal.