His career spanned the history of show business in the 20th century, beginning in his parents’ vaudeville act at the age of 5. The manic, rubber-faced performer who jumped and hollered to fame in a stage, radio, TV and film partnership with Dean Martin, settled to become a self-conscious auteur in movies he wrote, produced and directed, and found new fame as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, died Sunday at home in Las Vegas surrounded by family. He was 91.
American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said after co-hosting Sunday’s program that he’s sorry the famed comedian didn’t participate, but the organization needs to move on to ensure the fundraiser continues.The telethon raised nearly $61.5 million Sunday, an increase of about $2.6 million over last year, MDA officials said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jerry Lewis said Saturday that his years of service to the Muscular Dystrophy Association helped make him a star, but he didn’t provide details on his recent departure as the group’s national chairman. In his first public appearance since the that announcement, Lewis accepted a lifetime achievement award from the Nevada […]
The comedian, 85, has been the MDA’s national chairman since the early 1950s and has hosted the Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon since 1966. MDA Chairman R. Rodney Howell said in a statement that Lewis “will not be appearing on the telethon” and “we will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman.” Lewis has in recent years battled a debilitating back condition, heart issues and the crippling lung disease pulmonary fibrosis.