Lewis relieved of telethon duties

MDA says comedian not coming back

The Muscular Dystrophy Assn. has cut off its association with Jerry Lewis.

The 85-year-old comedian and actor, who has long been the symbol of the MDA, has been relieved of his duties as host of the Labor Day Telethon that he has hosted since 1966.

MDA chairman R. Rodney Howell said in a press release: “Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the telethon.”

That might be news to Lewis, who indicated last week at the Television Critics Assn. tour he would be likely be appearing on the telethon in some capacity.

Lewis, who was at TCA Friday to promote an upcoming Encore docu on his life, snapped at a reporter when asked if the upcoming telethon would be his final one?

“How does it feels now that this will be the last one?” asked a scribe in attendance.

“Who told you that?” Lewis responded.

“I don’t know. I read it somewhere,” said the reporter.

“I never read it,” Lewis answered back. “Anything you read, read it twice.”

Lewis also said he was going to hold a worldwide press conference after the telethon to announce his plans with MDA.

When a spokesman for MDA was asked to elaborate on why Lewis would think he was coming back, he said, “The press release has all the information we’d like to share at this time.”