Black-ish star Jenifer Lewis recalls near-death experience: ‘I had fallen 10 feet into a dry ravine’

Lewis was on holiday in Africa two years ago when she nearly fell to her death

Inga Parkel
Tuesday 12 March 2024 19:21 GMT
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For the first time, Black-ish’s Jenifer Lewis is opening up about her near-death experience after falling off a 10-foot balcony while on holiday almost two years ago.

Lewis, 67, recently sat down with ABC’s Good Morning America host Robin Roberts to speak about the harrowing accident and her road to recovery.

In a teaser of the full interview, which airs tonight (12 March) on ABC News at 8.30pm ET, the Sister Act star explained that she went on a trip to Africa to celebrate the conclusion of the hit eight-season sitcom, which ran from 2014 to 2022.

“I was going to retire and move back home. I had conquered a dream. I had travelled around the world, and life was wonderful,” Lewis told Roberts.

In November 2022, after having visited Cape Town and Rwanda, Lewis made her way to the Serengeti.

“When the sun sets in the Serengeti, there are no streetlights. It is pitch black,” she remembered. “I was escorted to the lodge, my room, but I wasn’t given a tour. I should’ve been given tour. I laid out my safari clothes, and I saw the infinity pool out on my deck, so I went out. I was just taking in the fact that I was back in the Serengeti once again, and I’m walking, and all of a sudden – bam – I had fallen 10 feet into a dry ravine full of boulders and stones and sharp rocks.”

Lewis recounted that there was a portion of the balcony that “was not sectioned off”. “And there was no sign that said caution. 10 feet drop,” she said.

“Of course, I was in shock. My right hip took the impact, my shoulder went up against a stone. A lightning bolt went through my mind’s eye right here. In pitch black, I didn’t know I was falling. Nothing would move. So, I laid there, I said, ‘Move your body, baby, come on Jenny, move your body.’ Then, I called for my friend, Lori. It was hard to even take a big breath to scream,” she continued.

“When Lori ran to get help, I heard a lion roar,” she said. “My last thought, because I am Jenifer Lewis, was, what a headline: The king ate the queen. Pieces of Jenifer Lewis’ body being flown back to the states.”

Throughout the interview, pictures and videos of Lewis recovering in hospital are shown. She has since made a full recovery, even making a brief appearance in Jennifer Lopez’s latest musical film, This Is Me... Now: A Love Story.

Roberts’ full interview with Lewis airs tonight (12 March) at 8.30pm ET on ABC News. It’ll be available to stream on Hulu the next day.

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