Jerry Lewis: MDA Pulls Plug on Labor Day Telethon

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Jerry Lewis hosted the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon on Labor Day Weekend for 45 years. On Friday, MDA executive vice-president Steve Ford announced the telethon has ended.

For the last two years, what once was a 24-hour event, only received two hours of air time.

"It's not a 21-hour world anymore," he said of the telethon, during which Jerry Lewis not only encouraged people to donate money to research, but hosted a wealth of top-name entertainers, too.

Fox News reports that Jerry Lewis, who is 89, hasn't commented on the end of the telethon.

It was back in 2011, just a month before the annual telethon, that the MDA announced Jerry Lewis wouldn't be hosting that year's event. His abrupt exit was never explained.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association was started in 1950 and, a year later, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin mentioned the charity on their NBC TV show. The two comics hosted a 1956 telethon before breaking up. Jerry Lewis began hosting it on his own, starting in 1966. That first year, it ran on just one TV station in New York. From that year forward, children suffering from muscular dystrophy were known as 'Jerry's kids.'

Steve Ford hopes fundraising for the MDA will now take place online, much the same way the ALS "Ice Bucket Challenge" raised a huge amount of money for its cause last summer.

It will be interesting to see if Jerry Lewis issues a statement in the coming days about the end of the MDA telethon he proudly hosted for decades. Hopefully fundraising is successful online. Do you expect the amount of money once raised in Jerry Lewis's telethons can be raised in the future online instead?

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.