The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has announced that Jerry Lewis is no longer the organization’s national chairman, and that, contrary to what was announced this past spring, Lewis "will not be appearing on the Telethon" this year.
And oh yeah, the MDA said Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and that they are forever grateful to him for all he’s done for MDA over the years.
Of course, most of us know the famous Labor Day telethon to raise money for MDA as "The Jerry Lewis Telethon." He first raised money on TV to fight muscular dystrophy in 1952, 59 years ago, in New York City. The national MDA telethons as we’ve come to know them on Labor Day began broadcasting in 1966, with Lewis as host.
In May it was announced that Lewis, 85, would not host the show this year but would appear to sing "You’ll Never Walk Alone" one last time. Some reports at the time said Lewis was not happy that he was no longer going to be the host of the show. At the time it was announced that Nigel Lythgoe, the showrunner of "American Idol," and Alison Sweeney, who hosts NBC’s ‘BIggest Loser," would share hosting chores on the MDA Telethon.
Last Friday, July 29, 2011, Lewis, during a TCA session (for a documentary about his life on Encore), was asked about that upcoming telethon appearance, and he answered cryptically, saying not to believe everything one reads about. He later said he was going to hold an "international" press conference the day after this year’s Telethon, though when asked what he’d say at the press conference he answered, "None of your business."