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Jerry Lewis retires from MDA Telethon


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Who is Charo going to sing to now? :(

 

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press – 1 hr 58 mins ago

 

LAS VEGAS – After 45 years promoting treatment and a cure for children he calls "my kids," comedian Jerry Lewis announced Monday he is retiring as host of the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon that has become synonymous with his name.

 

Lewis, 85, issued a statement through the association calling it "time for an all new Telethon era."

 

"As a labor of love, I've hosted the annual Telethon since 1966 and I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, `You'll Never Walk Alone,'" Lewis said of a shortened six-hour primetime broadcast scheduled for Sept. 4.

 

Lewis, a Las Vegas resident, has in recent years battled a debilitating back condition, heart issues and the crippling lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. He said he'll continue serving as national Muscular Dystrophy Association chairman, as he's done since the early 1950s.

 

"I'll never desert MDA and my kids," he said.

 

Officials with the Tucson, Ariz.-based nonprofit hailed Lewis as one of the world's great humanitarians.

 

More than $1 billion has been raised during Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons over the years, association spokesman Jim Brown said. And a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics has opened since Lewis became involved in the telethon.

 

Lewis' first live Labor Day weekend telethon in 1966 was broadcast by a single New York City television station. It raised more than $1 million in pledges.

 

The telethon moved from New York to Las Vegas in 1973 and had stints in Los Angeles before returning in 2006 to Las Vegas.

 

Last year's Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon aired from the South Coast hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip and was broadcast by more than 170 stations. It raised almost $59 million to fund research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy and ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.

 

The live telethon usually lasts 21 1/2 hours. Sometimes Lewis sings or tells lighthearted jokes. He introduces guests and other performers like a ringmaster. Sometimes, he turns serious and shares stories of people afflicted by the disease or who are helped by the association. All the while, he urges donors to contribute while a tote board rings up pledge totals.

 

Some telethon moments have made history.

 

In Las Vegas during the 1976 telethon, Lewis was reunited by Frank Sinatra with Dean Martin, with whom Lewis had an acrimonious split 20 years earlier. The famous entertainer best known for his slapstick humor first teamed with Martin in the 1940s to play nightclubs and television shows and to make a series of comedy films.

 

The association tallied Lewis' live hours in telethons at 900, and association president and chief executive Gerald Weinberg called Lewis an unparalleled advocate and humanitarian.

 

"All of us who've been privileged to work beside him, and the hundreds of thousands throughout the world affected by the myriad of muscle diseases MDA battles, will acknowledge in our hearts forever the unrivaled role Jerry has played in our lives and the lives of all Americans," Weinberg said in the statement.

 

Lewis' success as a philanthropist was celebrated in 2009 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented him with its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The award was presented to Lewis by Eddie Murphy, who starred in a remake of one of Lewis' signature roles, "The Nutty Professor."

 

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110517/ap_en_ot/us_people_jerry_lewis

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I spent most of the day last year watching the telethon. Taylor Dayne performed which was just wonderful. But he still had such a great presence. I'll definitely be tuning in to see the telethon this year.

 

Now, if we could only get one of his best movies "Who's Minding The Store?" to come out on dvd.

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Good riddance, while i admire the work he's done for this show, it used to be so much better when he had the energy and provided entertainment instead of just sponsors wanting to get patted on the back by presenting him with cheques, it was a sorrowful site at the end, haven't watched it in decades. BUT, it USED to be great, in the old days, sort of like Jerry himself. :lucydisgust:

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  • 2 months later...

Jerry has pulled out of what was to be his farewell appearance at the MDA Telethon. :lucyhorror:

 

http://news.yahoo.com/jerry-lewis-no-longer-mdas-national-chairman-040646580.html

 

This is a bit alarming...

Why? I'm just relieved we will not have to be subjected to his insane rants again, although i read they are coming out with a documentary on his life, you know, from back in the days when he was sane.

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Jerry has pulled out of what was to be his farewell appearance at the MDA Telethon. :lucyhorror:

 

http://news.yahoo.co...-040646580.html

 

This is a bit alarming...

Well, don't believe everything you read: The word here locally is that he didn't quit but was fired -- from his own Telethon. Apparently (allegedly)he wanted this last one to be his farewell but has been squeezed out instead -- such a lack of gratitude for all that he's done for 50 years! -- by the current head of MDA. They're also apparently reducing the what was it, 24 hour? telethon down to just 6 hours and all they wanted him to do was sing the song at the end, so he --again, allegedly -- told them to what they could do with it!

 

Should know more tomorrow as the story was still unfolding on my way to work this a.m. by the local source, may have more later or tomorrow.

 

Stay tuned. :D

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Well, don't believe everything you read: The word here locally is that he didn't quit but was fired -- from his own Telethon. Apparently (allegedly)he wanted this last one to be his farewell but has been squeezed out instead -- such a lack of gratitude for all that he's done for 50 years! -- by the current head of MDA. They're also apparently reducing the what was it, 24 hour? telethon down to just 6 hours and all they wanted him to do was sing the song at the end, so he --again, allegedly -- told them to what they could do with it!

 

Should know more tomorrow as the story was still unfolding on my way to work this a.m. by the local source, may have more later or tomorrow.

 

Stay tuned. :D

Joey, i know he's raised a billion dollars over the decades BUT he's now 85 and after his early bird dinner, he wants to get to bed by ten nowadays so let him retire and enjoy what little time he has left.

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  • 4 weeks later...

An excellent and very interesting analysis of Jerry's involvement with the MDA telethon and his lack of involvement this year from Frazier Moore of the Associated Press:

 

Jerry Lewis: MIA at this year's MDA Telethon

 

NEW YORK (AP) — No one would sniff at all the dollars Jerry Lewis raised for muscular dystrophy: a couple of billion during his 45-year reign as host of the MDA Telethon.

 

But what kind of TV did he offer in exchange? The short answer: Jerry put on a show like no other.

 

Labor Day this year promises to be bland by comparison, with the 85-year-old Lewis now banished from the annual rite he built from scratch and molded in his image.

 

As if deflated by the absence of its larger-than-life host, "The 46th Annual MDA Labor Day Telethon" will fill just six hours (Sunday from 6 p.m. to midnight in each time zone; check local listings for station), rather than the grueling 21½-hour endurance contest that Lewis used to churn through with his viewers in tow.

 

On this year's broadcast (which, ironically, will no longer be actually airing on Labor Day), a quartet of lightweights are standing in for Jerry: Nigel Lythgoe ("So You Think You Can Dance"), Nancy O'Dell ("Entertainment Tonight"), Alison Sweeney ("The Biggest Loser") and Jann Carl (billed as "an Emmy-winning journalist").

 

Celebrities will include Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Antebellum, Richie Sambora and Jordan Sparks.

 

It may be entertaining. It may spur contributions. But as a media event, this year's telethon can hardly match the display of wretched excess Jerry Lewis guaranteed, especially in his epic, unbridled prime.

 

"Jerry is a ferociously contradictory personality, and that's what makes him fascinating to watch," says satirist-actor-writer Harry Shearer, a Jerry-watcher for a half-century. He noted just two of Lewis' clashing identities: "the inner 9-year-old, set loose" and the would-be deep thinker "who fancies himself something of an autodidact."

 

"It all makes for psychodrama of a high order," Shearer marvels.

 

Year after year, Lewis bounced between the polarities of smarmy sentimentalism and badgering lunacy as if in a weightless environment. He put his multiple identities on raw display, each constantly jostling for the spotlight.

 

Hear him on a circa-1970s telethon introducing singer Julius LaRosa with syntax-butchering effusiveness as "the kind of human being that is wonderful to get close to and near, and then you pray that it's contagious" and as "what the literal translation of the word 'professional' means," in possession of "probably the best singing voice I think anyone has ever heard, when you listen to the heart that goes into it."

 

It was fascinating, ridiculous, cringe-worthy and spellbinding to see how Jerry held court for the parade of entertainers, the checks-bearing civic leaders and corporate sponsors, and the adorable, afflicted kids.

 

The Jerry Lewis telethon was a reality show decades before the term or genre had been invented. It was video retailing, years before QVC. It was round-the-clock TV companionship long before cable news and the Weather Channel.

 

For nearly a full day, it was a spectacle of show-biz glitz, heart-tugging emotion and suspense: Would Jerry make it to the end without unraveling? Would the level of pledges do justice to his efforts at soliciting them?

 

There was a perfect symbiosis of the telethon and Lewis. He made muscular dystrophy as big a star as he had once been. Meanwhile, aligning himself with the search for its cure gave him the gravitas he had always sought. He branded the disease with himself, and vice versa.

 

He was not only the host of the telethon and chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (a job he would hold for 60 years), but the central figure in a massive enterprise as the self-styled avenging angel of a dread disease.

 

The contradictions, though, were legion, breathtaking to behold. Shearer covered the 1976 telethon during its heyday for Film Comment magazine.

 

"The telethon combines the hysterical mystique of the (Las Vegas) Strip superstar with equally hysterical desperation of the downtown lounge act," he wrote. "It mixes the glib disinterest of a TV star taping a thirty-second public-service spot with the glib agony of a comedian on a crusade."

 

There was the unresolvable question of Lewis' motives — he has famously refused to say why he poured so much of his life into MDA. How much of what he did was prompted by humanitarian urges? How much is explained by the voracious appetites of an attention hog?

 

And how to explain the choice of theme songs by Lewis for his righteous cause: the piteousness of "Smile (When Your Heart Is Aching)," and, of course, the riotously inappropriate "You'll Never Walk Alone" with which Lewis, overcome by emotion, ended each telethon, daring his audience to consider it a cruel joke.

 

Lewis found a perfect counterbalance for his excesses and vanities in the purity and urgent need of "his" kids. Everything he did he was doing in their service, which, in his mind, absolved him of his carte blanche life-or-death extravagance.

 

And it made him, at last, a success on TV. He was a comedian-singer-writer-actor-director-producer-movie star who, after splitting with his partner Dean Martin in the mid-1950s, had failed to match his other triumphs with any real television inroads. But on the telethon each year, for 21½ hours, he was the unquestioned boss of the Love Network.

 

It's not as if his TV acceptance wasn't a mixed blessing, as Shawn Levy observed in his Lewis biography, "King of Comedy."

 

On the one hand, Lewis was the star of a hit show "for which the nation not only dropped all else on a summer holiday weekend but actually opened its wallets." On the other hand, Lewis could never be certain "that it was to him and not his cause that the American public was responding with its support."

 

This has long since become moot, all the more so since Aug. 3, when, with no elaboration, MDA announced that Lewis had "completed his run" as national chairman, and that he would not be appearing on the telethon, as promised earlier.

 

Lewis has provided no insight into the matter. But it's hard to imagine how wronged he must feel after bonding with the telethon for so long. As Levy writes in "King of Comedy," Lewis "had conflated America's charitable instincts with love for himself as a public figure and even as one more lonely child."

 

The telethon will be on again this Labor Day weekend, in some faint version of what Lewis wrought. But for those who watch, and remember it with Jerry, it is likely to feel like a lonely affair.

 

SOURCE: http://news.yahoo.com/jerry-lewis-mia-years-mda-telethon-163541678.html

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An excellent and very interesting analysis of Jerry's involvement with the MDA telethon and his lack of involvement this year from Frazier Moore of the Associated Press:

 

 

 

SOURCE: http://news.yahoo.com/jerry-lewis-mia-years-mda-telethon-163541678.html

I don't care as i stopped watching it years ago. It USED to be a great show, big name celebs and Jerry's joking and even singing YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE, it was just great, we used to NOT get it in our area, then we finally did and enjoyed the show, then it got boring and he got boring and all it was was a parade of head honchos handing cheques to him, who the hell wants to see THAT? While i despise some of his weird pronouncements over the years, especially recently, i do admire the fact that he raised all that money. Never cared for the man as a performer but he had his moments and i will NEVER forget the time Frank Sinatra brought on Dean Martin as a surprise and got Dino and Jerry together again one last time, it was very moving and the show was exciting back then, you put up with the boredom as the big name acts provided fine entertainment. However, in the past efw years i could never watch more than a few minutes, the year he was all bloated up was the scariest, i figured he wouldn't live that much longer but he's still around being crotchety instead of funny.

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Still don't think it was right they tossed him out like so much garbage! lucydisgust.JPG

Listen, when something's gone BAD, you just gotta throw it out. He didn't mind thrashing Lucy a while back, saying all women are never funny, including Lucy, yet when she died he was there eulogizing her, the hypocrite, so now, he's getting a taste of his own medicine.

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