Jerry Lewis to retire from telethon

Hosting duties began in 1966

Jerry Lewis will step down from hosting the annual Labor Day weekend Muscular Dystrophy Assn. telethon this year, ending a 45-year run.

“It’s time for an all-new telethon era,” Lewis said.

To that end, the telethon is reducing its length from 21 1/2 hours to six, airing in a combination of live and tape-delayed segments Sept. 4 from 6 p.m. to midnight in each time zone to make it more attractive to local stations and to entice bigger talent.

Lewis, 85, said he will continue to serve as the org’s national chairman.

“As MDA continues the growth Jerry Lewis has done so much to inspire, all of us who’ve been privileged to work beside him, and the hundreds of thousands throughout the world affected by the myriad of muscle diseases MDA battles, will acknowledge in our hearts forever the unrivaled role Jerry has played in our lives and the lives of all Americans,” MDA prexy-CEO Gerald C. Weinberg said.

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