In a stunning turn of events, The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has announced that legendary comedian Jerry Lewis is out as chairman of the organization. He will also no longer be appearing on the organization's annual Labor Day Telethon. It was announced less than three months ago that Lewis would be making one more appearance on the telethon before retiring as host. He was still to maintain his chairmanship, however.
What changed between now and then is anybody's guess. Speculation has ranged from Lewis's deteriorating health, to a strange recent appearance at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour last week. Several published reports indicated that he said it was "None of your business" when asked about his involvement with the telethon, and that he went on a rant against reality television.
Regardless of the reason for his departure, it clearly marks the end of an era. Lewis had hosted the annual telethon since it first ran in 1953 (when he co-hosted with Dean Martin). The telethon raised nearly $60 million dollars with Lewis at the helm, about a third of the MDA's $180 million in annual revenue. Although his behavior may have become slightly erratic over the years, it will certainly be strange not seeing Jerry Lewis crooning out "You'll Never Walk Along" at the end of the telethon. To read the full story on his departure, head on over to The NonProfit Times. The story will be updated if we get any further information.