Jerry Lewis and Marilyn Monroe, looking for a contact to be real

Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Marilyn Monroe, during Martin & Lewis' reception of the Photoplay Award (1955).

But in the midst of another story, Lewis is suddenly insistent that Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy—with whom Lewis was close—never had the affair many believe they had. When I look skeptical, he turns stern. "I'm telling you what I know. Never! And the only reason I know is because I did. Okay?"

Wait, what??

He nods, adding that Monroe used sex like he uses humor: to make an emotional connection. "She needed that contact to be sure it was real."

Okay, but what was it like, I ask, to make love to the most famously tragic sexpot of all time?

"It was…" he says, taking a beat, "long." He smiles ruefully. "I was crippled for a month." Another pause. "And I thought Marlene Dietrich was great!"