Jerry Lewis is out as host of this year's muscular dystrophy telethon.
In May, the 85-year-old comedian-filmmaker announced that the Sept. 4 show was going to be his last. But the Muscular Dystrophy Association abruptly and briefly announced Lewis would no longer be its national chairman — or be on the upcoming Labor Day fundraiser, as he has for some five decades.
Jerry Lewis stepping down from Labor Day telethon
Just last week, Lewis was funny — and cagey — about his future involvement with the annual program. As he promoted the upcoming Encore feature-length documentary Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis, he refused to say what his role would be on the telethon this year until Sept. 5 — meaning after the show.
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But any suspense was ended by MDA board Chairman R. Rodney Howell, who announced Lewis was out of two jobs while calling him "a world-class humanitarian."
"We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the telethon," Howell said.
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MDA reportedly will select a new host, who will join a quartet of co-hosts that includes entertainment personalities Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O'Dell.
The telethon has been a fixture on TV viewers' calendars since 1966.