Reginald F. Lewis, a Wall Street lawyer and financier who was one of the nation's richest businessmen and a prominent corporate takeover dealer, died January 1993 in Manhattan, one day after his company announced he was suffering from brain cancer. He was 50 and lived in Manhattan and Paris. Mr. Lewis, whose $1 billion acquisition in 1987 of the Beatrice Companies, a foods concern, led to the formation of his own company, TLC Beatrice International, had amassed personal assets of $400 million, according to estimates by Fortune magazine. By acquiring the Beatrice operations, TLC, which stands for The Lewis Company, became the largest company in the country run by a black person. Mr. Lewis was born into a middle-class family in Baltimore in 1942. His father was a postal worker and his mother a teacher. He once said that he began selling newspapers when he was 9 years old, earning about $20 a week and saving $18. He graduated from Virginia State University before entering Harvard Law School. After graduating in 1968, he joined the New York law firm of Paul Weiss Rifkin Wharton & Garrison. In the early 1970's, he opened his own law firm, Lewis & Clarkson, which specialized in venture capital projects. In his last few years, he gave vast sums to several schools, including Virginia State and Howard universities. In New York, he gave large contributions to Abyssinian Baptist Church and the scholarship foundation of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, of which he was a member. Mr. Lewis was a member of the boards of WNET in New York and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He was also a member of the Business Roundtable and the Economic Advisory Committee of New York City. Mayor David N. Dinkins had nominated him to be a member of the city's Municipal Assistance Corporation. In addition to his half-brother Jean, of Baltimore, Mr. Lewis is survived by his wife, the former Loida Nicolas, two daughters, Leslie and Christina; his mother, Carolyn C. Fugett, and stepfather, Jean S. Fugett, both of Baltimore; two other half-brothers, Joseph M. Fugett of New York City and Anthony S. Fugett of Baltimore, and two half-sisters, Rosalyn Fugett Wiley and Sharon M. Fugett, both of Baltimore.