Jerry Lewis not reinstated as telethon host, spokeswoman says

Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:35pm EDT
 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Jerry Lewis will not be back next month to host the annual muscular dystrophy telethon that he has headlined since 1966 despite a media report to the contrary, his spokeswoman said on Sunday.

A story from a gossip columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal that was posted online at the newspaper's website cited an unnamed source close to the comedian as saying Lewis had been reinstated to the Labor Day weekend telethon.

Earlier this month, the Muscular Dystrophy Association had said Lewis would not appear at all in the telethon, and on Sunday the comedian's spokeswoman said that had not changed.

"Him being reinstated as the host of the MDA telethon is not accurate," said Candi Cazau, a publicist for Lewis.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal declined immediate comment, and a spokesman for the MDA did not return calls.

The 85-year-old Lewis has starred in over 40 films and is best known for the popular 1963 movie "The Nutty Professor." In the 1940s and 1950s, he performed on stage, in television and on film in a wildly popular comedy duo with singer Dean Martin.

Lewis has hosted the telethon since 1966, but in May he said he was retiring from that job. He had nevertheless been expected to make a final appearance in the September 4 telethon and sing his signature song "You Never Walk Alone."

Those plans were scrapped earlier this month when the MDA said Lewis would not be appearing on the show. The organization has since released a list of performers that includes singers Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Steven Tyler.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Cynthia Johnston)