Cathy Lewis

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Cathy Lewis
Cathy Lewis 1959.jpg
Lewis in 1959
Catherine Lee Lewis

(1916-12-27)December 27, 1916
DiedNovember 20, 1968(1968-11-20) (aged 51)
Burial placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Years active1940–1966
(m. 1943⁠–⁠1958)

Catherine Lee Lewis (December 27, 1916 – November 20, 1968)[1][2] was an American actress on radio, film, and television. She is remembered best for numerous radio appearances but also noted for making a number of film and television appearances in the last decade of her life.


According to Ron Lackmann's The Encyclopedia of American Radio, Lewis moved from Spokane, Washington to Chicago and found work on The First Nighter Program. Other accounts say she first hoped to make it as a singer.[3][page needed] Eventually, Lewis moved to Hollywood, and performed at Pasadena Playhouse.[4]


She would be most identified as the sensibly droll secretary Jane Stacy rooming with scatterbrained Irma Peterson (Marie Wilson) in the 1947–54 radio and television comedy My Friend Irma.[5] In recognition of her work as Jane Stacy, she received the Ideal Secretary Award from the Executive Secretaries Club in 1948.[6] She would play Jane Stacy until 1953[3][page needed], taking some time off from September 1948 and through the rest of the season due to overwork.[3][page needed]

She appeared on Sam Spade and I Love a Mystery[7]

She worked with and publicly assessed the radio performances of some of the greatest screen talents of the day, including Gregory Peck, Joan Crawford, Joseph Cotten, June Havoc, and Humphrey Bogart.[8]

Partnership with Elliott Lewis[edit]

Lewis met actor Elliott Lewis (who had the same surname before their marriage) when they recorded at The Woodbury Playhouse on November 6, 1940.[9] On April 30, 1943, while Elliott was on leave from the Army, they married at Chapman Park Hotel in Los Angeles. Elliott's uncle Eddie Raiden was best man.[10] Together, the couple worked on such old time radio classics as Voyage of the Scarlet Queen and Suspense. They earned a combined income of $90,000 per year.[11]

Both Lewises were staples of vintage American radio in numerous, genre-spanning works in comedy and drama (they were, for example, regulars among what was known as Hollywood's Radio Row group of performers, appearing often--together and separately--on such programs as The Whistler),[12] especially their co-creation of the anthology series On Stage.[13][page needed]

Together they wrote an episode of Suspense titled "The Thirteenth Sound" that aired in 1947[14][15] and an episode of Twelve Players titled "Checkerboard" that aired in 1948.[16]

The Lewises separated on their fourteenth anniversary, and Lewis filed for divorce, on the grounds of mental cruelty. The divorce was granted on April 16, 1958.[17]

Films and television[edit]

Most of her film work in the 1940s was in uncredited bit parts. She recreated her My Friend Irma role on television for the show's first two seasons,[18] but, overworked and tired of the role, left the show in 1953.[3][page needed]

She had a supporting role in The Party Crashers (1958), a film now noted as the final screen appearances of troubled legend Frances Farmer and former child star Bobby Driscoll. That same year, she and Elliott Lewis divorced, putting an end to their image as "Mr. and Mrs. Radio." A year later, she starred as half the title of a short-lived bid to bring another radio show, Fibber McGee and Molly, to television, with Bob Sweeney as Fibber to Lewis's Molly.[19] The show initially had mixed reviews,[20] but it was canceled during its first season.[21][page needed]

In 1961, Lewis received positive notice for her supporting role in the movie The Devil at 4 O'Clock.[22] She began a recurring role as Deirdre Thompson, the snooty sister of George Baxter, on the television hit Hazel.[23][page needed]

Lewis played a widow courted by two muleskinners (Ken Curtis and Denver Pyle) in the 1964 episode "Graydon's Charge" of the syndicated series Death Valley Days, hosted by Stanley Andrews.[24][page needed]

Personal life[edit]

Lewis was an avid interior decorator.[18]

She and Marie Wilson became close during the run of My Friend Irma. She called Marie "Cookie" or "Cook" for short.[3][page needed]


Lewis died of cancer on November 20, 1968, in Hollywood.[4] She was survived by her mother and a sister.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1940 We Who Are Young Office Girl Uncredited
1940 Little Nellie Kelly Western Union Operator Uncredited
1940 Dr. Kildare's Crisis Flo Uncredited
1941 Model Wife Salesgirl Uncredited
1941 Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day Nurse Uncredited
1941 Double Trouble Peggy Whitmore
1942 Kid Glove Killer Bessie Wright
1942 Wings for the Eagle Personnel Clerk Uncredited
1943 Slightly Dangerous Salesgirl Uncredited
1947 The Hucksters[25] Wanda Jean Voice, Uncredited
1949 The Story of Molly X Cy
1958 The Party Crashers Mrs. Nickerson
1961 The Devil at 4 O'Clock Matron
1961-66 Hazel Deirdre Thompson 17 episodes
1962 Hatari! Radio Operator Voice, Uncredited
1964-65 Jonny Quest Jade & others 4 episodes
1965 Wagon Train Captain Sam Season 8, Episode 21


  1. ^ Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, Utah, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2009.
  2. ^ Cathy Lewis, 50, Actress, Is Dead", The New York Times, November 23, 1968, p. 47.
  3. ^ a b c d e Tranberg, Charles. (2006). Not so dumb : the life and career of Marie Wilson. Albany, GA: BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-049-3. OCLC 70803507.
  4. ^ a b c "Obituaries". Variety. 253 (2). November 27, 1968. p. 60 – via Proquest.
  5. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 165.
  6. ^ "Off Mike: S-s-s-lightly Nervous" (PDF). Radio Life. February 29, 1948. p. 11. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Buxton, Frank; Owen, Bill; Morgan, Henry (1972). The Big Broadcast: 1920-1950: A New, Revised, and Greatly Expanded Edition of Radio's Golden Age: The Complete Reference Work (PDF). New York: Viking Press.
  8. ^ Johnson, Erskine (March 5, 1951). "In Hollywood". Portsmouth Herald. p. 7 – via Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ Gordon, Shirley (November 3, 1946). "Radio A La Lewis" (PDF). Radio Life. Retrieved February 24, 2020.
  10. ^ Lewis, Elliott. "Young Married World". Retrieved January 30, 2020.
  11. ^ "Full Steam Ahead". Time. May 18, 1953. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  12. ^ Dunning, John (May 7, 1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. p. 719. ISBN 978-0-19-984045-8.
  13. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the air : the encyclopedia of old-time radio. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195076788. OCLC 35586941.
  14. ^ "What's New from Coast to Coast" (PDF). Radio Mirror. May 1947. p. 110. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  15. ^ "On Mike: Sound Man's Dilemma" (PDF). Radio Life. February 9, 1947. pp. 11–12. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  16. ^ "Playbacks: Twelve Players" (PDF). Radio Life. February 29, 1948. p. 11. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Irma's Friend, Husband Split". The Victoria Advocate. Texas, Victoria. Associated Press. April 17, 1958. p. 18. Retrieved January 31, 2020 – via
  18. ^ a b Ross, Mildred (August 1, 1952). "Who Am I?" (PDF). TV Radio Life. p. 3. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  19. ^ "Television Reviews: Fibber McGee & Molly". Variety. 216 (4). September 23, 1959. p. 34 – via Proquest.
  20. ^ "The New NBC-TV Weekly Series". Broadcasting. September 28, 1959. p. 62 – via Proquest.
  21. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (October 6, 2015). Short-Lived Television Series, 1948-1978: Thirty Years of More Than 1,000 Flops. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-0515-9.
  22. ^ "Film Revew: The Devil at 4 O'Clock". Variety. 284 (5). September 27, 1961. p. 6 – via Proquest.
  23. ^ Tucker, David C. (March 26, 2015). Shirley Booth: A Biography and Career Record. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8205-4.
  24. ^ Lentz, Harris M. (January 1, 1997). Television Westerns Episode Guide: All United States Series, 1949-1996. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-0377-6.
  25. ^ "The Ear Inspires the Pen" (PDF). Radio Life. October 26, 1947. p. 2. Retrieved March 20, 2020.

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