First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

UPDATED: Jerry Lewis “Completes Run” (ousted) as MDA National Chairman

It's official but carries some drama

TUCSON, Ariz., Aug. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/–

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announces that today Jerry Lewis has completed his run as its national chairman. In May, Lewis and MDA announced his retirement as host of the MDA Labor Day Telethon.

MDA Chairman of the Board of Directors, R. Rodney Howell, M.D., said, “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 will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon.”

more HERE

Lewis, MDA mum on reasons for comedian's exit

Today's Associated Press article indicates that the decision may have not been mutual.

In May, Lewis said in a statement issued through the association that he would make his final appearance on the telethon this year and sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during a six-hour primetime broadcast scheduled for Sept. 4.

But during a session with reporters last week at a Television Critics Association press tour to promote an upcoming TV documentary, "Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis," Lewis hinted that his involvement in raising money for muscular dystrophy research wasn't finished.

more HERE

Wonder if this fall's documentary from Starz/Encore was an issue?

From the press release:

For the first time in history, Jerry has granted us exclusive rights to document the behind the scenes operations of this massive television/multimedia event.

We captured everything from pre-production to the final tote board tally.

This amazing footage reveals that his tireless efforts are a year round job, and not simply showing up to host this enormous variety show.

We also see Jerry's meticulous production meetings, his outrageously funny performance rehearsals, and countless hysterical candid moments unlike anything that has ever been seen of Jerry before.

In addition, we were also privileged to capture many heartfelt moments revealing how much "Jerry's kid's" really mean to him.

Read more HERE

Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing in yesterday, makes another point:

Times have changed. There are other ways to use charity to fight disease now.

There are even more efficient ones, one that couldn't have been remotely imagined when Lewis donned a tux and picked up the microphone all those years ago.

But there will never be another combination of schmaltz and sincerity of its kind again. And the word "telethon" without the words "Jerry Lewis" in front — it's like "New Year's" without "Dick Clark."

Inevitable? Yes. Hard to get used to? Absolutely.

What's Labor Day without Jerry Lewis?

We will never walk alone.

Edited to add:

from Steven Zeitchik and Deborah Vankin in today's Los Angeles Times: Jerry Lewis ousted as MDA telethon host

"It's probably time for him to retire," Tom Arnold said. "But he should get to say goodbye.

"If they'd promoted this as Jerry Lewis' final telethon they could've gotten guys like George Clooney, which would've opened the door to God knows who. It would've been a big deal, and showbiz loves big deals."

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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