I've always known the name Jerry Lee Lewis because his songs were still on the radio back in the 1970s when I was growing up, and there was a movie about him (that I never saw) in 1989 called "Great Balls of Fire" starring Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder.
But I didn't REALLY KNOW about Lewis until I started researching that time his cousin, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, got caught with 2 prostitutes.
The Swaggart story can wait until after Jimmy dies (he is a robust 87)… For now, I will stay with Lewis.
For the unaware, the now-deceased rock and roll great Jerry Lee Lewis was a pioneer of the genre… And also a pioneer of rock star inbred pedophilia after he married his 13-year-old cousin while still married to his second wife… In his defense, she looked at least 14 and a half.
More details: In 1958, Lewis married his second cousin, Myra Gale Brown, before the divorce was final on his second marriage to Jane Mitchum with whom he had 2 children. I mention the kids because the 13-year-old cousin that Jerry married was only 9 years older than his 4-year-old son, Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. So there’s an argument Myra wasn’t old enough to babysit Junior, but the dad felt Myra was plenty old to be his step-mom.
There’s one detail about this love story that I find particularly unsettling… When Myra Brown moved out of her parent's house to join Lewis on tour at the age of 13, she packed her belongings in the only container she had — Her fucking dollhouse.
(I'm too wittle to own wuggage, cousin/husband Jerry!")
When Myra was 14, the couple had a child who would die in a swimming pool accident three years later… A tragedy for sure, but if that kid lived, there’s a chance Jerry would’ve married her eventually.
On top of the death of their child, both Lewis’ infidelity and drug use further strained the marriage. The couple eventually divorced in 1971, but I assume still bumped into each other at family functions.
Jerry married for the seventh time in 2012, and he kept it in the family again… His new wife was reportedly his cousin’s ex-wife.
On a happier note (at least for me), prior to the marriage to his underage cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis was widely considered a more accomplished artist than Elvis Presley. As a result, most people in the music industry felt he was poised to climb the charts when Elvis left the music scene temporarily to enter the US Army and start dating 14-year-old Priscilla.
However, the exact opposite happened as Lewis’ fans deserted him upon hearing of his marital freakiness, and it took years for him to shake off the stigma.
Well, consider that stigma officially shaken as the artist formerly known as "The Killer" died today at the ripe old age of 87 and has gone to that big family reunion in the sky.
Jerry Lee Lewis… Take a report.
While looking up what year the movie "Great Balls of Fire" was released, I learned it was based on a biography by Myra Lewis, the cousin who married Lewis when she was 13 and he was 22… I might give it a watch tonight, but you should watch the latest episode of Twisted History…