Jerry Lewis: 5 Things to Know
Jerry Lewis will no longer host this year's MDA telethon, the Muscular Dystrophy Association announced Wednesday.
The comedy legend announced his retirement as the organization's chairman in May, but said he would host the fundraiser -- to be held over Labor Day weekend this September -- one last time. He planned to perform his signature tune, "You'll Never Walk Alone.”
"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," the group’s chairman of the board of directors, Dr. R. Rodney Howell, said in the statement. "We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon."
Lewis had downplayed reports just days earlier at TCA that he wouldn't host, a role he's held for 45 years.
Here are a few things you may not know about Lewis:
1. He was hospitalized in June for being "overtired" and forced to cancel a sold out concert in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Lewis' rep said that he stayed at the hospital for about three hours before heading back to his hotel.
2. His first live Labor Day telethon in 1966 raised more than $1 million in pledges. Last year's, which aired in Las Vegas, raised $59 million to fund research to find a cure for the disease.
3. Lewis was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 2009. He's also been honored with lifetime achievement awards by The Venice Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the American Comedy Awards, The Golden Camera, and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
4. He was born in 1926 in Newark, NJ and began performing at age five. By 15, he'd created his "Record Act," in which he mocked over-the-top lyrics on a photograph. He grew to fame when he partnered with Dean Martin for their Martin and Lewis comedy team.
5. He was born Joseph Levitch, he changed his name to Joey Lewis professionally at first. He then changed it again to Jerry Lewis so he wouldn't get mixed up with comedian Joe E. Lewis and boxing champ Joe Louis.