I had no idea his first wife was Catholic, but he talked about it many years ago in a television interview with David Susskind. Check out the video above. He goes into detail at about the eight minute mark. It’s fascinating, and really quite touching. (h/t to that great Jerry Lewis aficianado, Elizabeth Scalia!)
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.
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.