General News

Jerry Lewis reduces his Telethon duties

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Jul 26, 2001 | 6:52am EDT

After 35 years of hosting one of the most popular--and most profitable--charity telethons, Jerry Lewis finally has to slow down his master of ceremony duties for his annual Labor Day Telethon.

According to his manager Joe Stabile, Lewis is recuperating on his boat from a recent bout with pneumonia.

Lewis will make an appearance at the fund-raiser that helps support the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Stabile said. Lewis also has had to cancel his regular appearances at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas until after the telethon.

"He'll do the telethon. That's good enough," Stabile told Reuters. "He's fine now. He's never missed one."

Last year, Lewis battled a case of viral meningitis, which forced the comedian to sit out much of the 21½-hour telethon. Several stars filled in for him, including The Tonight Show's Ed McMahon. But Lewis sang the opening song and stayed on for about seven hours before retiring. He insists that he will never miss a telethon, which first aired in 1966.

The event raised a record $54.6 million last year and was seen by 75 million viewers on more than 200 stations worldwide.

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