Jerry Lewis Steps Downs as Muscular Dystrophy Association Chairman

The 85-year-old comedian cancels his appearance on this year's Labor Day telethon and resigns the post he's held for 50 years

Comedian Jerry Lewis, 85, has completed his half-century run as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, according to a press release from the MDA. Lewis has served as chairman since the early 1950s, and the annual Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, hosted by Lewis, has long been a national ritual.

When asked at last week's Television Critics Association tour what his involvement might be in future MDA telethons, Lewis was characteristically blunt. "It's none of your business," he said. "Anything you read, read it twice."

Lewis had announced in May that he would be retiring as host, but he had been slated to appear in September's telethon nonetheless, singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" for the last time.

Now, however, it appears that Lewis' final telethon appearance is no longer in the works. "We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman," R. Rodney Howell, M.D., chairman of the board for the MDA, says. "And he will not be appearing on the (Labor Day) telethon." Adds Howell, "Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian, and we're forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA."

We believe this is what's called the end of an era.

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