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LEWIS TUNES OUT GRIPES ABOUT ANNUAL TELETHON

Comedian Jerry Lewis is defending his annual Labor Day weekend telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Critics - including many former poster children - say Lewis' tactics present disabled people as pitiful and childlike. Some former "Jerry's Kids" - they now call themselves "Jerry's Orphans" - reportedly plan demonstrations in more than two dozen cities during the telethon. But Lewis told Chris Wallace in an interview for ABC's "Prime Time Live" that he "can't worry" about the accusations because "a hundred million people think what I'm doing is OK." As for the former poster children, "Why didn"t they call us anything when we brought them the wheelchairs?...Why wasn't I a terrible man when we bought them the wheelchairs that are getting them around?" In an interview with Parade magazine, Lewis said, "Idon't need other people's pain to make comedy. I just call on my own."