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The Muscular Dystrophy Association announced Wednesday that comedy legend Jerry Lewis, 85, will not be hosting the MDA’s 2011 Telethon, and had officially ended his nearly half-century run as the organization’s national chairman.
He announced his retirement as the organization’s chairman in May but said he would host the fundraiser one last time, this September. Lewis, who has hosted the event since 1966, was also slated to sing his staple “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
The MDA did not provide a reason for the change, but did praise the comedian in a press release.
“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,” MDA Chairman of the Board of Directors, R. Rodney Howell, M.D., said in the statement. “We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the Telethon.”
But, Lewis, who last week said reports of him stepping away from his hosting duties were untrue at the bi-annual Television Critics Assoc. press tour in L.A., also hinted at a potential conflict. When he he was asked to clarify his role in this year’s telethon, the actor responded: “It is none of your business.”
No word on who might be tapped to host this year’s telethon, which will take place over Labor Day weekend.
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