April 9, 2009
The older I get, the more I tune into things like the MDA telethon. Over the years Jerry has done great things for MDA, and you could see in the last few years, Jerry declining. Both in health and in temperment, and saying a few things that probably made the MDA cringe. I saw several of those last year and the years before, thinking its time for Jerry to hang it up. I think some of what he said, and a few choice words on aire, probably were a bit too much. Pass the torch on to those who will continue. God loves you Jerry, he has given of himself, like nobody can really match. Jerry is an American Icon for sure, deserving of our nations highest humanitian awards. I'm curious, with the split if they will drop the theme of "Jerry's Kids", hopefully they will continue that until this disease is cured.
Lewis, MDA mum on reasons for comedian's exit
By OSKAR GARCIA - Associated Press | AP – 3 hrs agotweet10ShareEmailPrintRelated ContentFILE - In this Dec. 1, 2010 file photo, Jerry Lewis attends the Quentin Tarantino …
LAS VEGAS (AP) — For decades, Jerry Lewis has played the key role in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual telethon, helping to raise more than $1 billion. Now the two sides are parting ways, but no one is explaining why.
The 85-year-old comedian told reporters last week that he plans to hold a press conference the day after this year's telethon to talk about what he thinks is important. When pressed by a reporter about his role with the telethon, Lewis said: "It's none of your business."
The Tucson, Ariz.-based association announced this week that after 45 years, the comedian was no longer its national chairman and he would not appear on the telethon this year.
Association spokesman Jim Brown declined to say what prompted the decision. And Lewis publicist Candi Cazau of Las Vegas also declined to comment, telling The Associated Press Thursday that comedian was traveling outside his home state of Nevada.
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.
"Who told you that?" Lewis asked a reporter who asked him how he felt about this year being his last telethon. "I never read it."
"Do you remember when the New York Times printed, 'Dewey wins'? I rest my case, pal," Lewis said. "Anything you read, read it twice."
In 1948, the Chicago Tribune famously printed the headline "Dewey defeats Truman" the day after Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey in the presidential election.
Lewis also harshly criticized reality television shows that include heavy involvement from telethon co-hosts Nigel Lythgoe and Alison Sweeney. Lythgoe is executive producer of Fox's "American Idol," which Lewis called a singing competition of "McDonald's wipeouts," while Sweeney hosts the NBC weight-loss show "The Biggest Loser."
"You just have to be bad. The business is scrounging around for what to do," Lewis said when asked how comedic actors can become great today. "And the first thing a good comic must do is let them know he hasn't changed.
"He can bring that same veracity and that same performance to a medium that's running around, knocking their brains out trying to see how we beat the fat lady at 375 pounds, and in four months she's going to be 240. Who (cares)," Lewis said. "It's ridiculous."
When asked what he'd have to do to be satisfied with his life, Lewis said: "Get the cure for muscular dystrophy, then I'm fine."
Lewis later said he would hold a press conference Sept. 5 to clarify his plans.
"I will have plenty to say about what I think is important. And that's the future, not the past," he said.
Fox is owned by News Corp.; NBC is controlled by Comcast Corp.
Associated Press writer Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.
Oskar Garcia can be reached at Tweets by oskargarcia .
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