September 6, 2009

Wynonna Judd to open Jerry Lewis telethon

The 44th annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon will be opened in Las Vegas by singer Wynonna Judd, organizers say.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal said Friday that Judd will kick off the live Labor Day telethon Sunday night at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, that is scheduled to run for 21 1/2 hours.

Also among the telethon's performers will be singers Bo Bice, Tony Orlando and Joshua Bell, along with the Las Vegas Mass Choir and the Ten Tenors.

Comedian George Wallace and ventriloquist Ronn Lucas are also slated for telethon appearances.

Lewis said this year's telethon will be particularly emotional because of the June death of anchor Ed McMahon, who previously helped Lewis run the live broadcast that began in 1966.

It's hard to imagine doing the show without him, Lewis said in a statement

Ed was a dear, dear friend. We were always making jokes, cracking each other up. He cared deeply about people with muscle diseases. On the telethon, he was my right-hand man.