Academy to honor Lewis the humanitarian

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Jerry Lewis finally is getting some respect from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose board of governors has voted to honor him with its Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Although the prolific actor and filmmaker never has been nominated for an Oscar, he will receive an Oscar statuette in recognition of his humanitarian efforts Feb. 22 during the 81st Annual Academy Awards ceremony.

Lewis, who made his screen debut with nightclub-act partner Dean Martin in 1949's "My Friend Irma," began making local and national televised appeals on behalf of the newly founded Muscular Dystrophy Assn. during the early 1950s. He has been the organization's national chairman since 1952 and has spearheaded the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which has raised more than $2 billion, since 1966. (partialdiff)
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