Jerry Lewis Will No Longer Host MDA Telethons

Aug 4, 2011

The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced last night that comedian Jerry Lewis will no longer serve as the organization's chairman, nor as the host of its annual Labor Day telethon. Lewis has hosted the telethons since 1966.

"Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we're forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA," R. Rodney Howell, the chair of the board of directors said in a statement. "We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon."

The Chicago Tribune reports:

Last month, the 85-year-old comedian and actor announced he would be retiring after one final telethon.

"I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone,'" Lewis said.

"I'll continue to serve MDA as its national chairman as I've done since the early 1950s. I'll never desert MDA and my kids."

Variety reports that last week during a tour at the Television Critics Association, Lewis did not confirm that he was retiring. He also said "he was going to hold a worldwide press conference after the telethon to announce his plans with MDA."

Variety adds that an MDA spokesman declined to elaborate on the reasons for ending Lewis' stint as host and chairman.

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