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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29:  Jerry Lee Lewis performs  at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on September 29, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Bobby Bank/Getty Images)
The Death of Jerry Lee Lewis Explained
History - Science
The world was stunned and saddened on Friday, October 28, 2022, to hear that rock n' roll pioneer and piano-smashing legend Jerry Lee Lewis died at age 87, according to his publicist. The piano-playing rocker was known as a hellion on-stage and off-, and he became just as famous for his drinking, womanizing, and on-stage antics as he did for his music itself.
In 1957, Lewis shot to rock n’ roll stardom with his hits “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On’” and “Great Balls of Fire,” but his time at the top wouldn’t last long. When he married his third wife, Myra Gale Brown, the industry turned on him — both because she was his cousin, and because she was just 13.
The marriage was the most infamous of Lewis’ controversies, but it was far from his only one, as he also received a DUI, drunkenly showed up at Graceland demanding to see Elvis, and was divorced six times. Additionally, Lewis slept in a bedroom where the door was barred with steel, and he kept a pistol under his pillow and an automatic at his bedside table.
Lewis stayed on the stage up until the very end of his life, even when he could no longer stand and play the piano like he used to. He said of performing, “I was born to be on a stage. I couldn't wait to be on it. I dreamed about it. And I've been on one all my life. That's where I'm the happiest. That's where I'm almost satisfied.”