Newswire: After almost 50 years, the Muscular Dystrophy Association telethon is calling it quits

After nearly 50 years and more than $2 billion in donations, the Muscular Dystrophy Association is ending its annual Labor Day Telethon. According to the New York Post, the nonprofit will be diverting most of its efforts into online fundraising rather than continuing the tradition made famous by Jerry Lewis, who first hosted the Labor Day event in 1966.

Lewis actually hosted the first MDA telethon in 1956 with his then-partner Dean Martin, but the entertainer inaugurated a yearly tradition ten years later with his very first Labor Day telethon, which began on a single television station in the New York region. Gradually, it spread to become a much-ballyhooed annual network TV event, drawing on a deep well of popular musicians, actors, and performers to raise money for the disease. Despite the occasional controversy—the show was picketed in the early ’90s by disabled people claiming that Lewis had turned …

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