- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2011

LAS VEGAS — After 45 years, Jerry Lewis is retiring as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Labor Day telethon.

The 85-year-old comedian and Las Vegas resident issued a statement Monday through the Tucson, Ariz.-based Muscular Dystrophy Association calling it time for a “new telethon era.”

He says he’ll make his final appearance on the six-hour primetime telethon Sept. 4 by performing his song “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Lewis says he’ll continue as the association’s national chairman, a role he’s held since the early 1950s.


Lewis‘ first Labor Day weekend telethon in 1966 was broadcast by a single New York City television station and raised more than $1 million.

Last year’s Jerry LewisMDA Telethon raised almost $59 million to fund research to find a cure for muscular dystrophy and ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.