2011 MDA Telethon Raises $61 Million Without Jerry Lewis
Posted on Mon Sep 5, 2011 11:14 AM PDT

jerrylewis200.jpgLAS VEGAS, Nevada (X17online) - Despite longtime host Jerry Lewis’s absence, the 46th annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon raised over $61 million on Sunday.

Lewis had hosted the telethon since its 1966 debut and raised $1.66 billion over his 45-year run. Neither the MDA nor Lewis have offered explanations for Lewis’s absence, which was announced last month.

Lewis nevertheless remained a central feature of the 21-hour event, which paid homage to the comedian with video and photo presentations that served as backdrops to the stage.

Nigel Lythgoe, Jann Carl, Alison Sweeney and Nancy O'Dell co-hosted this year’s telethon.

“Jerry, and I know you're watching, when you gave me that chair I know it's possible to sit on it, but it's isn't possible, Jerry, to replace you, sir,” said Lythgoe, executive producer of American Idol, in his opening statement

The 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon raised about $2.6 million more than last year, according to MDA officials.