Jerry Lewis Out of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon Entirely This Year. Previously It Had Been Announced That He Would Appear This Year to Sing His Signature Song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ One Last Time on Show

Aug 4, 2011  •  Post A Comment

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."


  1. It is too bad that the egos on both sides couldn’t be swallowed to allow a proper send-off. The loyalty of the Lewis Fans to this program is legendary. They deserved better treatment from the organization that they built. It will be interesting to see how MDA makes up for the millions of dollars it will not pull in through the telethon this year. The shortened format and the loss of Lewis will result in a dramatic fall-off in donations this year.

  2. It’s the end of an era, but given the crude remarks during the last telethon by Jerry, perhaps the onset of Dementia is causing the parting of the ways!

  3. Only a small percentage of donations shown on the tote board (maybe 5%) are raised during the telethon. The rest of the funds reflected on the board are raised during the year between telethons by organizations and events. The amount raised this year will be lower, but not by much. And Lewis’ absence along with the shorter format won’t have near the impact a bad economy will have. Those are just the realities of telethons.

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  5. Jerry Lewis is a douchebag.

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