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May 17, 2011

Jerry Lewis to Leave MDA Telethon After 45 Years

The comedian Jerry Lewis is retiring as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon, ending his direct association with an annual fund raiser with which he's become synonymous, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lewis, 85, has hosted the annual Labor Day broadcast since 1966. His final appearance will come on this September's telethon, on which he will perform his traditional closing song, “You'll Never Walk Alone.”

In a statement Monday, Mr. Lewis said it is “time for an all-new telethon era.” He will remain national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Last year's 21½-hour telecast from Las Vegas, shown on 170 stations nationwide, raised nearly $59-million for research into a cure for muscular dystrophy and Lou Gehrig's disease. In October the association announced it would shorten the show to six hours, to be aired in an extended prime-time slot from 6 p.m. to midnight.