Co-stars say Jerry Lewis sexually harassed and assaulted them in explosive report

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Beloved by movies audiences as a pratfall-prone, goofy presence onscreen, Hollywood icon Jerry Lewis was a sex-crazed predator who harassed and sexually abused his co-stars, several women claim in a new report.

The explosive allegations are featured in a Vanity Fair story and accompanying short documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, who interviewed the actresses as part of a larger project about misogyny and abuse in the entertainment industry.

Actress Karen Sharpe, now 87, recounted how she refused to give in to an alleged assault by Lewis, who died in 2017 at age 91 — and he retaliated by making her an on-set pariah.

Sharpe said that while on the set of the 1964 film “The Disorderly Orderly,” Lewis cornered her in a dressing room.

“He grabbed me. He began to fondle me. He unzipped his pants. Quite frankly, I was dumbstruck,” Sharpe told Vanity Fair.

Sharpe said she was then subjected to Lewis’ infamous cruel streak when he instructed the entire cast and crew not to speak to her for the duration of the shoot.

When she showed up for work a few days later, she was met by a crew member who said that only the director and assistant director were allowed to interact with her.

“If anyone speaks to you…we’ll be fined,” the crew member told her, according to Vanity Fair. “I wanted to let you know…. But I can’t even speak to you.”

Then there was Hope Holiday, who had known Lewis since she was 13 as a friend of her father’s and considered him “family,” as she told Vanity Fair. When he offered her a part in the 1961 comedy “The Ladies Man,” she jumped at the chance. But the experience went sour pretty quickly.

“The first day we were working, he said, ‘Can you come to the dressing room afterward? I want to discuss what we’re going to shoot tomorrow,’ " Holiday told Vanity Fair.

She described going into a “garish” dressing room, upon which Lewis pressed a button and locked the door. Then he started talking to her about sex.

“He starts to talk dirty to me and as he’s talking, the pants open...I was frightened. ... I just sat there and I wanted to leave so badly,” she said.

The pain is still evident on the women’s faces, even decades later, in the short film by Ziering and Dick, who also made “Allen vs. Farrow,” the acclaimed HBO docuseries chronicling actress Mia Farrow’s allegations that her then-lover Woody Allen sexually abused her young daughter.

“It made me very depressed, and I didn’t want to date,” said Holiday, now 91, on camera about Lewis’ alleged assault.

“It wasn’t good,” she continued.

It was all part of the culture of Hollywood at the time, said the filmmakers, who also interviewed actresses including Lanie Kazan, Anna Maria Alberghetti and Jill St. John about Lewis’ unwanted come-ons.

“They were expected to accept being assaulted and to just deal with it themselves,” Dick told Vanity Fair. “The casting couch has been treated as a joke for a long time, which is a form of acceptance that sends a message that there’s nothing wrong with it and there’s no reason to be upset about it or report it. Of course it’s very traumatic. And I think that kind of terminology is also used in the way of seeing them as disposable.”