After 45 years, Jerry Lewis is retiring as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Labor Day telethon. The 85-year-old comedian and Las Vegas resident issued a statement Monday through the Tucson, Ariz.-based Muscular Dystrophy Association calling it time for a “new telethon era.”
He says he’ll make his final appearance on the six-hour primetime telethon Sept. 4 by performing his song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Lewis says he’ll continue as the association’s national chairman, a role he’s held since the early 1950s.
I remember watching him host the famous telethon on TV when I was a little girl. For some reason, I was determined to stay up all night and show him my virtual support. Of course, I'd fall asleep long before he was through dazzling audiences and earning money for the cause. He was an amazing host and will always be a beloved icon in American entertainment. He could have retired many years ago, but he seems to truly love the cause.
The MDA telethon has become an American Labor Day tradition in many homes. The entertainment extravaganza features an impressive lineup, and this year will be no different. I love that the people invited to cross his stage are not only big celebrities, but any ole regular "Joe" who wants to help and present a check.
The telethon for "Jerry's Kids" warms hearts and opens wallets, raising millions of dollars each year. The generous viewers donated almost $60 million in 2010. That's especially touching considering unemployment levels hit double digits across the nation and the tough economy hit hard on most families. Will the 2011 TV event see similar fundraising success?
When it comes to giving, Americans donate more money than any other country in the world. While we may be blamed for cold capitalism, Americans open their wallets generously every time. We want to help. Our hearts ache to make a positive difference in the world.
Muscular dystrophy is a crippling disease, which currently has no known cure. You'll be able to contribute your support with Jerry one more time by watching the broadcast on 190 "Love Network" TV stations, as well as view online streaming.