Jerry Lewis Retires From Hosting Telethon After 45 Years

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Jerry Lewis announced Tuesday that he's stepping down as the host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day telethon after 45 years.

In a statement released through the MDA Association, he said it was "time for an all new Telethon era."

"As a labor of love, I've hosted the annual Telethon since 1966 and I'll be making my final appearance on the show this year by performing my signature song, 'You'll Never Walk Alone,'" he said.

His last show six-hour will air Sept 4.

He'll continue to be the association's national chairman. "I'll never desert MDA and my kids," he said.

"All of us who've been privileged to work beside him, and the hundreds of thousands throughout the world affected by the myriad of muscle diseases MDA battles, will acknowledge in our hearts forever the unrivaled role Jerry has played in our lives and the lives of all Americans," said Gerald Weinberg, the organization's chief executive, in a statement.

His first live Labor Day telethon in 1966 raise 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.

Lewis was given the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 2009.

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