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I think the standard Irish/British pronunciation is as in Louis the king. But musicians seem to say "Lewis".

I've heard people say Joe Louis as in the king as well. Is this wrong?

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3 Answers 3

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This is a cool question. One of my favorite musicals is the movie version of Hello, Dolly! with Barbara Streisand. When Louis Armstrong was in that movie and sang the theme song with her, she says "Hello, Louis/Well hello, Louis/It's so nice to see you back where you belong/You're lookin' swell, Louis."

The entire time she pronounces his name as "Lewis" and you would think that in the movie they would have directed Streisand to sing his name in the way he would have liked it. But it's hard to say if Armstrong preferred that or not.

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Really, a cool question - Holy Crap I can feel my brain freezing up as I write....How do you pronounce - I'm laughing my ass off... –  user5531 Apr 1 '11 at 20:39

He preferred that his name be pronounced Louie.

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This link is broken. In any case Ed, your question would be better if you transcribed and summarised the information from your source(s) rather than just linking. –  vincebowdren Jul 14 '13 at 17:32

Maybe you have already seen this information, but I found this note at the bottom of the Wikipedia page on him:

^ He preferred that his name be pronounced Louie. "It's like Louis Armstrong - he spelled his name Louis, but he liked it to be said as Louie," recalls Louie Bellson 1. Armstrong was registered as "Lewie" for the 1920 U.S. Census. On various live records he's called "Louie" on stage, such as on the 1952 "Can Anyone Explain?" from the live album In Scandinavia vol.1. It should also be noted that "Lewie" is the French pronunciation of "Louis" and is commonly used in Louisiana. However, when referring to himself in "Hello Dolly!," he pronounces his name as "Lewis" ("Hello, Dolly. This is Lewis, Dolly"), pronouncing the 's'.

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