From Ohio History Central
Portrait of Ted Lewis.
Theodore Friedman, later known as Ted Lewis , was a well known American entertainer and musician in the first half of the twentieth century.
Theodore Leopold Friedman was born in Circleville, Ohio, on June 6, 1890. As a young man, Friedman began a music career in New York City. He changed his name to Ted Lewis to have an easily remembered stage name. Lewis had his start during the 1910s. He learned from the jazz musicians from the South who had moved to New York to perform their music for Northerners. His specialty was the clarinet. Many critics increasingly came to describe his style as "corny," In 1919, Lewis received a record contract with Columbia Records and emerged as one of the best known jazz musicians in the United States by the early 1920s.
In 1919, Lewis formed his own band. His group eventually included some of the most famous musicians of the first half of the twentieth century. They included Benny Goodman, Muggsy Spanier, George Brunis, and Jimmy Dorsey. Lewis appeared in several movies, and his band continued to play together into the 1960s.
Ted Lewis died in New York on August 25, 1971.