Home Celebrity Jerry Lewis’s Name Still Being Used by MDA

It’s pretty clear that Jerry Lewis will not be on tonight’s Muscular Dystrophy telethon. MDA kicked Jerry to the curb this summer after 49 years of his fundraising for them.I’m told that on Tuesday Lewis will break his silence and tell all to various major outlets about what went down between him and MDA chief Jerry Weinberg. Sources say that Weinberg and Lewis have a long simmering feud that finally exploded in public this year.

But wait! Comes the mail, and MDA is still sending out come-ons using Lewis’s name and likeness. Holy moley. Their solicitation envelope has a picture of Jerry–captioned as National Chairman–and MDA National Goodwill Ambassador Abbey Umali.

Inside, there’s a note signed “Love, Jerry Lewis” about “his” kids. And the return mailing envelope has a big red stamp on it that reads “Rush! Jerry’s counting on me!” The envelope is addressed to Jerry Lewis–National Chairman, Muscular Dystrophy Association. Clearly MDA wants to have their Lewis and be miserly to him, too. But from readers responses so far I think they’re going to have problems tonight. We’ll see.


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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
19 replies to this post
  1. i am totally discusted with this whole situation. That pompus fool that supposely is the Leader of the MDA is a fool. He has no idea or does not care to what he has done to millions of people. Jerry Lewis not only brought in millions of dollars but he brought love and compassion to his kids and anyone that needed him. I have watched this telethon since I was six years old and am now 42 yrs old. This was always a something my family did every year and throughly enjoyed it with JERRY LEWIS!!!!!!! These new idiots not only shortened the telethon but basically ruined a childhood memory for me. You idiots in the front office should be ashamed of yourselves. Talk about no respect!!!!! I will no longer be watching the telethon and will only be making my donations in stores.


  2. Jerry Lewis and MDA have been synonymous for decades. Millions of us have relied on the billions of dollars that have been raised over the years for research. As a patient, I appreciate the work that has been achieved that would not have been done without Jerry Lewis and MDA. Whatever the conflict, the unfortunate outcome I fear would be a reduction in services.

    This steamy exploitation of the media doesn’t help matters any.

  3. You’ve got to be kidding me…here is a man that made millions of people laugh( France doesn’t count) saved thousands of lives and you blow him off like yesterdays news?? Shame on you all!! He IS the foundation of salvation for this horrible sickness…….. you CLOWNS!!!!! MDA office heads should be discombobulated ! Where’s Ann Bolin when we need her????

  4. Let’s start this letter with a little quiz:

    1.Has anyone ever seen the Muscular Dystrophy Association working instead of plundering, stealing, and living off the sweat of others?
    2.Is it really the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s impression that the future of the entire world rests in its hands?
    3.Essay: Compare and contrast its insinuations to those of longiloquent utopians of one sort or another, focusing especially on who is more likely to rally for a cause that is completely void of moral, ethical, or legal validity.
    Don’t worry; I’ll give you all the answers throughout the course of this letter as well as a wealth of other information about the Muscular Dystrophy Association. What follows is the story of how the Muscular Dystrophy Association can be so rich in the rhetoric of democracy and yet so poor in its implementation. Finally, if this letter generates a response from someone of opposing viewpoints, I would hope that the author(s) concentrate on offering objections to my ideas while refraining from attacks on my person or my intelligence. I’ve gotten enough of that already from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

  5. Are you kidding me???!

    I’m withholding my donation this year from the telethon because I can’t support any organization that treats someone (anyone really, but especially Lewis who arguably brought MDA to the public’s conscience) in such a fashion.

  6. They should not exploit Jerry’s good name. especially after the way that they’ve treated him. It’s a good cause that I’ve always donated to, but not this year.

  7. I hope they do have problems tonight. Their behavior towards Jerry Lewis is disgusting, ungrateful, hurtful and downright slimy. When I heard they were still using his image the word guttersnipes came into my mind. But they are lower than that. I can’t write that phrase here, because it will get censored. I’ll leave that to your imagination.

  8. Thank you for FINALLY pointing this out. We at jerrylewisfans.com have had a running discussion of this fiasco for quite some time and have not been able to understand how MDA could treat Jerry Lewis so badly and then have the nerve to still use his name. I’m sure some of the “gimmes” they sent out were printed well in advance, but they should have been destroyed, and MDA should have had new ones printed.

  9. MDA has rewritten the telethon history on their website so it no longer mentions Jerry Lewis. In fact, they list telethon hosts such as Bart Conner. How petty and cruel. Don’t they realize how poor they look to potential donors?

  10. This is one major the scandals of the 2010’s.

    I feel literally sick watching this play out. Maybe Lewis is done, or nearly done, but this way of pushing him off stage will be the subject of documentaries for years to come.

    Its impossible that the people involved have a charitable spirit. This is just too cold blooded. Does Lewis have a 4th act left in him?

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