Jerry Lewis is often hailed as one of the biggest names in comedy to ever occupy Hollywood. Now, two of his costars have come forward with accusations of sexual assault.
Karen Sharpe and Hope Holiday recently sat down for an interview with Vanity Fair, where they were interviewed by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering of HBO's docuseries Allen v. Farrow.
Sharpe claims that while filming the 1964 movie the Disorderly Orderly, Lewis interrupted a wardrobe session, where she was being fit for costumes, and then told everyone but her to leave the room. Sharpe continues,
“He began to fondle me. He unzipped his pants. Quite frankly, I was dumbstruck. I put my hand up and said, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t know if this is a requirement for your leading ladies — but this is something I don’t do.’ I could see that he was furious. I got the feeling that that never really happened to him.”
Sharpe was then forced to complete the movie, and claims that a few days later, Lewis instructed the rest of the cast and crew not to speak to her. He would not rehearse with her and only acknowledged her if they were in the same scene.
Holiday has similar accusations from when she was filming the 1961 film, The Ladies Man. Lewis reportedly called her into his dressing room before pressing a button that locked the door. Afterwards, she claims,
“Then he starts to talk to me: ‘Y’know, you could be very attractive but you wear pants all the time. I have never seen you in a skirt. You have nice legs and you’ve got good boobs.' He starts to talk to me about sex … He starts to talk dirty to me and as he’s talking, the pants open, and the ugly thing came out and he starts to jerk off. I was frightened … I just sat there and I wanted to leave so badly.”
Holiday says that the next day, she confronted him on set, striking him as hard as she could.
“I hit him so hard that I spun around. And I didn’t mean to. Maybe down deep I did. But he walked off the set and sulked for an hour. He said I did it on purpose. He finally came back and didn’t talk to me. He never spoke to me again.”
Lewis died in 2017 and went his entire life without the allegations against him known.