Patti Palmer, Jerry Lewis’ First Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Jerry Lewis’ death was announced today via Twitter and he was reported to have died of natural causes at the age of 91. The legendary comedian and actor leaves behind a large family, as he and his wife had six children together. Get to know more about Lewis’ family life and his first wife Patti Palmer.

1. Patti Palmer Is a British Singer

Patti Palmer was born Esther Calonico and she went on to become a singer and an actress. Some of her television appearances have included The Wayne and Shuster Hour, The Colgate Comedy Hour, The Jack Paar Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. According to IMDb, when Palmer first met Jerry Lewis, it was in Detroit, Michigan in August 1944. At the time, she was a singer with Ted Fio Rito and his orchestra and she later joined Jimmy Dorsey as well.

Palmer married Lewis just two months later and the couple was together until January 1983.

2. Her Youngest Son Died of an Overdose

With Lewis, Palmer had six sons and her youngest one, Joseph, died at age 45 of a reported drug overdose. Joseph and his father had a publicly estranged relationship and hadn’t spoken in about two decades when he died.

For more information on Joseph Lewis, click on the below link:

3. Claims of Infidelities and Financial Strain Were Said to Be the Couple’s Demise

According to People, when Palmer first requested a legal separation from ex-husband Jerry Lewis, she also asked for $450,000 a year to support herself and their son, Joseph Christopher, who was 16 years old at the time. In court papers, Palmer claimed that Lewis “has 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.” People also reported that Palmer was concerned that Lewis was buying extravagant gifts for and was friendly with a woman named SanDee Pitnick. At the time, Pitnick was a 30-year-old former stewardess who had a part in Lewis’ latest movie, Hardly Working.

A couple years after Lewis and Palmer’s divorce, Lewis married Pitnick.

4. Palmer Wrote a Book About Her Marriage to Jerry Lewis

Publishers Weekly has discussed Patti Palmer’s book about ex-husband Jerry Lewis “I Laffed Till I Cried: Thirty-Six Years of Marriage to Jerry Lewis”. The review of Palmer’s book reads:

This shapeless script, presumably a history of Patti’s marriage to Jerry Lewis, provides too few details of the story promised and too much about her accomplishments, remarkable though they are. Patient readers can find the mistreated child, Esther Calonico, becoming a pretty singer, Patti, who in 1945 interrupted her career to wed Jerry Lewis, defying her Italian-Catholic parents and his Jewish kin … Although collaborator Coleman is billed as a “professional” author, apparently she did not provide the editorial guidance urgently needed here.

In the book, Palmer discusses her life with Lewis and after her divorce.

5. SanDee Pitnick Is Lewis’ Current Wife

SanDee Pitnick is the mother of Jerry Lewis’ seventh child, an adopted daughter named Danielle, and she has been married to Lewis since 1983, the same year Lewis divorced ex-wife Palmer.

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