Jerry Lewis Retires As Host Of MDA Labor Day Marathon

The 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon will be Hollywood screen icon Jerry Lewis’ last as host.

The MDA Association provides medical and healthcare services through its network of 200 American clinics.The 85-year-old firecracker has been using his celebrity to help the organization raise money for children with the disease for more than 40 years, but Jerry’s become increasingly loose-lipped on camera in recent years. He even dropped the dreaded F-Bomb at the 2007 event. Lewis says he’ll appear on the annual Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Labor Day Telethon for the final time this September.

“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.’ I’ll continue to serve MDA as its national chairman — as I’ve done since the early 1950s. I’ll never desert MDA and my kids,” Lewis said this morning. “It’s time for an all new telethon era,” he added. “This year’s 6-hour prime-time telethon on Sept. 4 will be spectacular and I’m thrilled to be part of it. We’re so close to treatments that it’s absolutely vital for everyone to tune in and make a generous donation. America has always found a way each year to give me that just one dollar more to help my kids.”

The Association credits the aging actor/comedian with banking 900 hours of live television time encouraging viewers to help fund worldwide research seeking treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS, and similar diseases. MDA President and Chief Executive Officer Gerald C. Weinberg praised Lewis for his years of service in a press release issued on Monday.

“As MDA continues the growth Jerry Lewis has done so much to inspire, 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. We’re deeply honored that Jerry Lewis will continue as MDA’s national chairman and we’re profoundly grateful for everything he has done and is doing for the association.”