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Lifestyle

August 9, 2011

So why isn't it the Jerry Lewis telethon any more?

(AP) LAS VEGAS — For decades, Jerry Lewis has played the key role in the Muscular Dystrophy Association's annual telethon, helping to raise more than $1 billion. Now the two sides are parting ways, but no one is explaining why.

The 85-year-old comedian told reporters last week that he plans to hold a press conference the day after this year's telethon to talk about what he thinks is important. When pressed by a reporter about his role with the telethon, Lewis said: "It's none of your business."

The Tucson, Ariz.-based association announced last week that after 45 years, the comedian was no longer its national chairman and he would not appear on the telethon this year.

Association spokesman Jim Brown declined to say what prompted the decision. And Lewis publicist Candi Cazau of Las Vegas also declined to comment, telling The Associated Press last week the comedian was traveling outside his home state of Nevada.

In May, Lewis said in a statement issued through the association that he would make his final appearance on the telethon this year and sing "You'll Never Walk Alone" during a six-hour primetime broadcast scheduled for Sept. 4.

But during a session with reporters last week at a Television Critics Association press tour to promote an upcoming TV documentary, "Method to the Madness of Jerry Lewis," Lewis hinted that his involvement in raising money for muscular dystrophy research wasn't finished.

"Who told you that?" Lewis asked a reporter who asked him how he felt about this year being his last telethon. "I never read it."

"Do you remember when the New York Times printed, 'Dewey wins'? I rest my case, pal," Lewis said. "Anything you read, read it twice."

In 1948, the Chicago Tribune famously printed the headline "Dewey defeats Truman" the day after Harry Truman beat Thomas Dewey in the presidential election.

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