Jerry Lewis 1926-2017: Quiet Guy At The Deli

After a two-year Navy active duty recall during the Korean War, I was hired in 1953 by the daily Beverly Hills Citizen newspaper, now long gone. At lunch times, staffers often gathered around the corner at Nate’n’Al’s Deli, now still serving great foods.

Often, we were joined by agents seeking newspaper publicity for their clients. Sometimes the stars of the era were with them. Tho it’s almost 65 years since, I recall then-famous faces in our dining booth, including Groucho Marx, Milton Berle, Yul Brynner, Carol Channing and many others.

At one luncheon that year, a slim young guy of about my age sat next to me. He was quiet during most of the hour, with occasional polite talk with other diners. The only conversation I had with him was about menu selections. Later, when I was back in the newspaper office, I learned my quiet young dining companion had been Jerry Lewis.

Rest in peace, Jerry. Your enormous talent brought laughter to millions of admiring fans. And your annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon earned you the love and admiration of the world.

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