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Jerry Lewis ousted as MDA telethon host

by Steven Zeitchik and Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times

August 5, 2011 | 11:12 am

Jerry Lewis in 2005. Photo by Patty Mooney / Crystal Pyramid Productions, San Diego, California

Jerry Lewis in 2005. Photo by Patty Mooney / Crystal Pyramid Productions, San Diego, California

Viewers of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s telethon will see a new host for the first time in more than four decades as Jerry Lewis is dismissed, Los Angeles Times reports.

For the first time in 45 years, Jerry Lewis will not be pleading for donations in front of a camera Labor Day weekend after he was abruptly dismissed as the host of the Muscular Dystrophy Assn.‘s telethon, an event that drew attention to the childhood disease and in its heyday was an annual television highlight.

The group said the 85-year-old legendary comedian would not appear on this year’s telethon, and would no longer serve as its national chairman, a position he held for nearly 60 years. The telethons have raised nearly $2.5 billion, the MDA said.

The announcement and the mysterious circumstances surrounding Lewis’ departure provoked an outcry from comedians and other performers, who still widely revere him for his groundbreaking routines and public service.

Read more at LATimes.com.

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