Starting out as a singer and pianist in vaudeville acts he began writing theme music for silent films before collaborating with others on popular songs. In 1914, he wrote "That's a Plenty", a rag that became an enduring Dixieland standard.
Among his best-known songs are "Charmaine" and "Diane" with Ernö Rapée, "Miss Annabelle Lee", My Yiddishe Momme" (wih Jack Yellen, made famous by Sophie Tucker, "Two Cigarettes in the Dark", "At the Codfish Ball" (featured in the Shirley Temple movie "Captain January" with Buddy Ebsen, and later the title of a Mad Men television episode), and Go In and Out The Window, now a children's music standard. He also collaborated with Paul Francis Webster, Sidney Clare, and Ned Washington amongst others. He died in Hollywood.
Lew Pollack was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.