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  1. #1

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    Jerry Lewis out as MDA chairman and off telethon

    Jerry Lewis started the telethon and has been the national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association for many, many years. Now at age 85 and in declining health he announced this year would be his last telethon. Two days ago MDA sent out a press release saying Jerry Lewis will not be on the telethon and was let go as MDA chairman. What is your opinion?

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    Although I didn't see the actual announcement and the wording, my guess is that it was by mutual agreement. The degree of energy and stamina not only for lasting through the actual telethon but also the requirements during the year are quite substantial. Jerry Lewis has not been in even marginally good health for at least the last five years. It's sad, but probably a necessary step for the continued success and evolution of the organization.

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    I think they should have let him do this last one. He has given almost his entire adult life to supporting and promoting this cause (he started hosting (regionally broadcast) telethons in 1952 at the age of 26, and the national telethon as we all know it was first held in 1966). I'd like to see today's "stars" champion a cause for that long, and with that much zeal. Sure, we all knew it would end sometime, but for MDA to cast him out like that shows a blatent lack of respect for the man and what he has done these many years.

    And no, the decision that Jerry would not be appearing on this year's telethon was not by mutual agreement. That was MDA's decision; Jerry had announced that this year would be his last. Big difference there.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/show...-that-was.html

    So. Jerry Lewis is out as host of the Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon, which he had captained since 1966 (though he had hosted local telethons for the charity as far back as the early 1950s). Having announced that the 2011 telethon would be his last, Lewis later called that into question; perhaps, like that other aging, raging lion, Lear, he suspected he might have been hasty in giving up the crown. The matter was then settled for him by the Muscular Dystrophy Assn. itself, which announced Wednesday, in the briefest possible statement, that his "more than half century of generous service to MDA" was done. "We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman," said Dr. R. Rodney Howell, chairman of the board of directors, "and he will not be appearing on the Telethon."

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    Good thing the telethon's been shortened from 21 to six hours because without Jerry it won't be worth watching anyway. One can only watch so many hours of Nancy O'Dell. At least the French still like him.

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    wait until the french finally see "the day the clown cried"
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karina1974 View Post
    I think they should have let him do this last one. He has given almost his entire adult life to supporting and promoting this cause (he started hosting (regionally broadcast) telethons in 1952 at the age of 26, and the national telethon as we all know it was first held in 1966). I'd like to see today's "stars" champion a cause for that long, and with that much zeal. Sure, we all knew it would end sometime, but for MDA to cast him out like that shows a blatant lack of respect for the man and what he has done these many years.

    And no, the decision that Jerry would not be appearing on this year's telethon was not by mutual agreement. That was MDA's decision; Jerry had announced that this year would be his last. Big difference there.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/show...-that-was.html

    Sounds like a heartless decision on the part of MDA to me. IMHO, they should let him do this one this year. Let the MDA show their thanks and appreciation in an appropriate way, not tossing him out unceremoniously.

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    I'm thinking there's something bigger going on, probably a health issue. I don't think MDA would be stupid enough to can him unless they thought his appearance might be a problem.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Whether you like Jerry Lewis or not; his lifetime of effort is largely responsible for the monies/research that have led to the understanding of - and scientific advances toward treatment - for an entire category of disabling conditions and genetic diseases.

    He deserves a better "thank you" than being unceremoniously "dropped" by the MDA
    It will be interesting to see how much money they raise this year.
    I'm sure that it will be much less then in the past.
    Advancing research costs $$$$$.

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    Yes, he isn't well, but for crying out loud - let the guy take a final bow. He can participate by video feed - it's all on TV anyway.

    He's never stated WHY he got involved with them in the first place. I'm very curious about that now - I think he's said in the past that it will be revealed after he passes, which I hope isn't too soon.

    Lewis once did an interview where he said that he would rather hear his accolades now rather than have them held for his eulogy. If you want to voice support send him a tweet: http://twitter.com/#!/JerLew

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    I know the telethon is suppose to be about the kids and adults fighting MD and not about Jerry Lewis, but his name has been connected to this disease for over 40 years. I remember reading that long before any celebrities lent their names to charities, Jerry became involved wth a group of moms whose children had muscular dystrophy. I for one would love to see Jerry sing his trademark song "You'll Never Walk Alone" one more time even if he can't make it through the first verse without getting hysterical crying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Good thing the telethon's been shortened from 21 to six hours because without Jerry it won't be worth watching anyway. One can only watch so many hours of Nancy O'Dell. At least the French still like him.
    When I tuned in to the telethon, it was never because of Jerry but for some of the invited guests. I've always thought his attempts at humor in his later years were embarrassingly not funny. Yes, I know he has done much for the MD and the telethon, but the producers need to freshen up the format. "Out with the old. In with the new." It'll happen to everyone eventually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FigureSpins View Post
    Yes, he isn't well, but for crying out loud - let the guy take a final bow. He can participate by video feed - it's all on TV anyway.
    Lewis has been traveling to some promotional events for his documentary, so it doesn't appear he's on his deathbed. He lives in Las Vegas most of the time so it wouldn't be a journey to the telethon anyway. Seems strange that MDA is apparently not willing to do what's been done for Dick Clark with his New Years show the last several years and let him tape some segments in advance.

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    ^ I totally agree with this. Why not have Jerry videotape some segments ahead of time? Couldn't he also be an "Honorary" chairman? Jerry has been so passionate about MD, can't help but wonder if there may be some backlash from his loyal supporters.
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

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    Weren't there some incidents in recent years where he said inappropriate things while on-air at the telethon? I seem to recall something about him calling a production crew member a "faggot".

    IIRC he is also not popular with some disability activists, who think he uses pity and stereotyping (e.g. calling the disabled "kids" and saying they are unable to work) to raise money.

    Maybe the MDA was afraid of putting him in front of a live camera for his last telethon....or maybe he wouldn't agree to doing a pre-taped message (that could be edited if needed).
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    Quote Originally Posted by skatemommy View Post
    ^ I totally agree with this. Why not have Jerry videotape some segments ahead of time? Couldn't he also be an "Honorary" chairman? Jerry has been so passionate about MD, can't help but wonder if there may be some backlash from his loyal supporters.
    Taping may be the only solution. His recent quotes make me worry about early signs of dementia, making a live appearance tricky at best.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    It'll happen to everyone eventually.
    Well, yes, but it was going to happen next year anyway by his own request. Why not let him have one last year?
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aceon6 View Post
    Taping may be the only solution. His recent quotes make me worry about early signs of dementia, making a live appearance tricky at best.
    He's said crap about gays and women publicly in just the last few years. And I have to say his public persona has creeped me out for years, the hostility just beams out from under the comedian. I'm sure MDA concluded it was too dangerous to put him on the air live and I'm also sure we're going to get some Charlie-Sheen-style histrionices from Lewis.
    "Youth and vigor is no match for age and deceit." -- Prancer

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    We might,

    I agree, his opinions on a number of "social issues" - including the place of persons with disabilities in society, have not necessarily reflected "politically correct" thinking,
    He is not alone. Many of his generation have had trouble adjusting their views to reflect changing attitudes.

    That said, the MDA could have handled the situation much more gracefully than they did,

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    Quote Originally Posted by PRlady View Post
    He's said crap about gays and women publicly in just the last few years. And I have to say his public persona has creeped me out for years, the hostility just beams out from under the comedian. I'm sure MDA concluded it was too dangerous to put him on the air live and I'm also sure we're going to get some Charlie-Sheen-style histrionices from Lewis.
    I would tend to agree with this. He has had some questionable statements/performances on the telethon lately. All in all, most telethons have had less air time - going from a weekend air time to 24 hour air times to 12 hour airtime, etc. TV airtime has gotten more costly in this day of other types of fundraising - such as internet donations, text donations. We don't know if the MDA was getting pressure from its air stations to rein in Jerry.

    I think that blaming the MDA for a less than graceful departure is a bit premature since we don't really know what was the driving force.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heckles View Post
    Good thing the telethon's been shortened from 21 to six hours because without Jerry it won't be worth watching anyway.
    I tuned in to last year's telethon after not watching since 1994. I had stopped watching in 1995, the year I first went away to college, and for some reason never got back into it. He was barely in it last year, undoubtedly due to his health issues and age. I know he's cut back in recent years the time when he is on the air.

    I remember the "old days" watching the telethon. We sat down to it on 9:00 PM Sunday, we kids watched until we were sent to bed around midnight, and the TV was literally on all day on Labor Day until the end.

    Guess this is another thing to add to that list I posted, about stuff your kids don't know about.

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