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2006-08-24 / Arts & Entertainment

Jerry Lewis To Host His 41st Labor Day Telethon

(Above)Jerry Lewis and Ed McMahon share a laugh at last year's tele-thon. (Above right) Lewis announces record-breaking total. With co-hosts, entertainers and friends at his side, incomparable comedian, actor and director Jerry Lewis will star in his 41st annual Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association this Labor Day weekend.

Airing for 21 1/2 hours beginning at 9 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 3, the Tele-thon will originate from Las Vegas, and will be shown on some 190 "Love Network" stations nationwide. (Check local listings for stations and start times.) The Telethon promises a mixture of entertainment - singers, dan-cers, comedians, bands and novelty acts - that will appeal to many generations.

Lewis has dedicated this year's Telethon to Robert Ross, MDA's longtime chief executive, who died in June.

The broadcast's primary aim is raising funds for MDA's programs of research and services for children and adults with any of more than 40 neuromuscular diseases. The Telethon is ex-pected to draw some 50 million view-ers nationwide and many more worldwide, thanks to Real Networks, via MDA's Web site,

Battling his own serious health prob-lems - severe back pain, lung disease and a recent heart attack - has, Lewis says, only deepened his commitment to help "his kids."

"I'm determined to continue the fight against muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting diseases, and to put an end to the diseases that Bob Ross devoted his life to conquering," Lewis said. "The Telethon is a tradition - a premier fund-raising event, a chance to inform and educate, to laugh and cry, and to have a good time."

Telethon anchor Ed McMahon will return for his 39th year. Co-hosts in-clude Jann Carl of "Entertainment To-night," comedians Norm Crosby and Bob Zany, TV host Tom Bergeron and country singer Billy Gilman.

The show will break away to remote locations, including New York and Chi-cago, and broadcast special concerts from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. Each hour, MDA Network stations will present information about local services and families they benefit. Both national and local segments will feature vi-deotaped profiles and live interviews with individuals and families served by MDA.

As always, Lewis said that his goal for 2006 is to surpass last year's total by one dollar.

MDA is a voluntary health agency working to defeat more than 40 neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive services and far-reaching professional and public health education. The As-sociation's programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors.

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