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Not even a heart attack could keep Jerry Lewis from hosting his annual Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. And as if that wasn't remarkable enough, he came back to wheedle the most dollars ever in the history of this granddaddy of all televised fundraising events.
Three months after suffering a mild heart attack and a 40 full years after launching his Telethon, the 80-year-old comedy legend returned to shatter his own record: $61 million in contributions and pledges for research and services to benefit people with neuromuscular diseases. Long an American institution, this year's telethon featured acts ranging from Celine Dion to the Village People.
I'm deeply gratified by the generosity of the American public, Lewis declared. They never fail to come through for 'my kids' who have muscular dystrophy and other conditions. This remarkably successful effort will mean the world to the tens of thousands of individuals and families who are fighting neuromuscular diseases.