This is an online encyclopedia of personalities of Old Time Radio. It is designed for educational and entertainment purposes.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Cathy Lewis (1918?-68)

Cathy Lewis was born towards the end of December and the beginning of January sometime between 1916 and 1918 in Spokane, Washington. In 1937, she started out as a teenager (or young adult) as a vocalist for Kay Kyser and Herbie Kay (it is now thought that Cathy lied about her age so that she could work as an adult, so the 1918 birth year is probably correct). Eventually, she wound up in Chicago, where she was the original female lead on the First Nighter. She was also heard on Lights Out (where she was the "Cat Wife" of Boris Karloff). In 1939, many of the Chicago-based radio series moved to Los Angeles. Cathy moved with them and enrolled as a student at the Pasadena Playhouse.

At the same time, she signed a contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer. MGM, thinking Cathy Lewis sounded too much like a made up name, renamed her Catherine Lewis. In 1943, she married actor Elliot Lewis. Cathy often joked about this: "Miss Lewis married Mr. Lewis, so Miss Lewis became Mrs. Lewis. I didn't have to change my driver's license. I could have changed my name to 'Cathy Lewis-Lewis'." While Cathy worked in the movies, it was radio that gave her the most pleasure. Her husband Elliot was one of the busiest people in the radio business. Over the years, Cathy was one of the busiest radio actresses.

Cathy was the narrator in My Friend Irma. Later, she would be heard on Suspense, Escape, and her own series (with her husband), On Stage. Ironically, On Stage also featured Mary Jane Croft, who married her husband after their divorce in 1958.

At that same time, Cathy was playing Molly McGee on the TV version of Fibber McGee and Molly. It was not nearly as good as the radio version. This was also when Marion Jordan (Molly McGee on radio) was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. She had been in failing health for the previous five years.

Cathy did more television and it did get better. Her last appearance was on F-Troop in 1966.

Cathy died on November 20, 1968, at her apartment in Hollywood. She and Elliot had no children. She died utterly alone.


LoyalTubist said...

I recently saw a death certificate for Cathy Lewis. Ah, she was listed as "Catherine Lewis," which my sources say is a mistake. But I'm sure her birthdate of December 27, 1915, is correct. She was 52 when she died.


LoyalTubist said...

But then again, maybe that was wrong. Maybe there is some cause for concern as she tried to be older than she was as a teenager.

We'll see...

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