The Jerry Lewis Telethon is no more. Comedian Jerry Lewis has decided to step down as the national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and will no longer host the nonprofit agency’s Labor Day telethon. The MDA announced Wednesday night that Jerry Lewis was leaving the organization and thanked him for his many years of service.
â€œJerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and weâ€™re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA,” the nonprofit said in a press statement.
85-year-old Lewis has been the national chairman of the MDA since it was created in 1950. He has been hosting the charity’s Labor Day telethon since 1966. Last year the telethon raised over $59 million. In 2005, the telethon raised $1 million to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Lewis made national headlines just last week when he expressed his opinion on reality television, bashing American Idol in particular. “The kids they get on American Idol, they’re all McDonald’s wipeouts… They all worked there and now they’re doing that.”
â€œWe donâ€™t have the soul in our industry that we had when I was working in it,â€ he continued. â€œThe soul has been desperately deteriorating [in] it, only because youâ€™ve got a guy running a network whose aunt died and left him some stock.â€
No official reason was given for Jerry Lewis deciding to retire from the Muscular Dystrophy Association at this time. However, Lewis has suffered from a variety of medical issues in the recent years, including a terrible back condition and heart issues.