- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2011

Jerry Lewis won’t appear on 2011 MDA telethon

Comedian Jerry Lewis is no longer serving as the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s national chairman and won’t be appearing on this year’s Labor Day telethon, the nonprofit agency announced Wednesday night, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lewis, 85, has been the MDA’s national chairman since the early 1950s and has hosted the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon since 1966.

He announced in May that he was retiring as host of the telethon that has become synonymous with his name. At the time, Mr. Lewis said he planned to make his final appearance on this year’s Sept. 4 show, and planned on continuing to serve as MDA’s national chairman.

MDA Chairman of the Board R. Rodney Howell said in a statement that Mr. Lewis “will not be appearing on the telethon” and “we will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman.”

Mr. Howell added that Mr. 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 statement did not provide any further explanation for the moves, and calls to the Tucson, Ariz.-based nonprofit weren’t immediately returned Wednesday night. Representatives for Mr. Lewis, a publicist and a manager, also did not immediately respond to messages left for comment.

Mr. Lewis, a Las Vegas resident, has in recent years battled a debilitating back condition, heart issues and the crippling lung disease pulmonary fibrosis.

MDA officials said more than $1 billion has been raised during Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons over the years and a national network of some 200 hospital-affiliated clinics has opened since Mr. Lewis became involved in the telethon.

Gosselaar riding motorcycle in charity event for AIDS

Mark-Paul Gosselaar is keeping busy while on hiatus from his TNT dramedy, “Franklin & Bash,” by trekking across the East Coast on a motorcycle ride for charity.

Kiehl’s skin care company’s six-day LifeRide for amfAR raises money for AIDS research. According to the Associated Press, the former star of “Saved by the Bell” is participating in the last three days of the ride starting Thursday - from Boston to New York City.

For Mr. Gosselaar, an avid motorcyclist, the event was a no-brainer.

“Setting a good example for my kids and leading by example is very important to me,” the father of two said.

His love of motorcycles started young with his older brother, Mike, a well-known motocross mechanic, teaching him to ride at age 3. Mr. Gosselaar was competing in motocross races by the time he was 5.

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