- 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.

The actor said in a Tuesday phone interview that he has passed the passion onto his children, Michael Charles, 7, and Ava Lorenn, 5.

“My son was riding by the time he was 5,” Mr. Gosselaar said. “I have pictures of me with him in a BabyBjorn, and I’m on my motorcycle, and that’s the way that he would go to sleep. I’d ride around on my property at five miles an hour, but it was the noise and the wind that would put him to sleep.”

‘Funny Girl’ revival heading to Broadway with HBO star

Lauren Ambrose will be stepping into Barbra Streisand’s big shoes in a revival of “Funny Girl” that is heading to Broadway.

According to the Associated Press, the former star of HBO’s “Six Feet Under” has been cast as Fanny Brice in a production that will play the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles before arriving in New York in the spring of 2012.

It will be the first Broadway production of the musical since it originally opened in 1964. Its featured songs include “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “People.”

Miss Ambrose has previously appeared on Broadway in “Awake and Sing!” and “Exit the King” and starred in the Shakespeare in the Park productions of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Hamlet.”

Extreme heat delays A&E’s ‘American Hoggers’

The Texas heat is forcing the A&E television network to call “time out” on a new series about hunting hogs, the Associated Press reports.

The network’s “American Hoggers” series was set to premiere Aug. 16, focusing on the Campbell family of central Texas. They hunt wild boar seen as a scourge by some residents and ranchers.

A&E said Wednesday that producers have cut back on the filming schedule due to high heat. The series instead will premiere sometime in fall, at a date to be determined.

David McKillop, executive vice president of programming at A&E, said that “in this record-breaking heat, even the hogs can use a break.”

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