Pollack was born in New York City. Among his best-known songs are "Charmaine" and "Diane" with Ernö Rapée, "Miss Annabelle Lee", "Two Cigarettes in the Dark", "At the Codfish Ball" (featured in the Shirley Temple movie "Captain January" with Buddy Ebsen, and later the title of a Mad Men television episode), and Go In and Out The Window, now a children's music standard. He also collaborated with Paul Francis Webster, Sidney Clare, Ned Washington and Jack Yellen, amongst others. In 1914 he wrote "That's a Plenty", a rag that became an enduring Dixieland standard. He died in Hollywood.
Lew Pollack was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.