December 11, 2008

Lewis to get humanitarian award at Oscars

Actor, director, writer and producer Jerry Lewis is to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the upcoming Oscars presentation in Los Angeles.

The announcement was made Wednesday by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Sid Ganis.

The award, an Oscar statuette, is to be presented to Lewis during the 81st Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 22.

The Hersholt honor is bestowed upon an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.

Jerry is a legendary comedian who has not only brought laughter to millions around the world, Ganis said in a statement, but has also helped thousands upon thousands by raising funds and awareness for those suffering from muscular dystrophy.

The now 82-year-old actor began making local and national televised appeals on behalf of the newly founded Muscular Dystrophy Association in the early 1950s. He has been the organization's national chairman since 1952 and has served as the No. 1 volunteer of the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon since 1966, raising more than $2 billion for the cause.

Lewis' film credits include The Bellboy, The Ladies' Man, The Nutty Professor, The Disorderly Orderly, The Family Jewels and The King of Comedy.