Friday, Apr. 02, 2010

Jerry Lewis Loses It for Charity

McDonald's might like helping people get their way today, but in 1977, franchiser Ray Kroc playfully held a donation ransom until comedian Jerry Lewis did things his way. Lewis was then, as now, chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and Kroc issued a $250,000 promissory note to the association stipulating that the funny man get a serious trim. And so he did: Headlines read "Cutting up for a cause" alongside photos of Lewis getting his hair snipped in Hollywood, Fla., as he wore his signature bug-eyed, open-mouthed expression.

During the 50 years he's been volunteering for the MDA, Lewis has made much greater shows of support, having never missed the yearly fundraising telethon, even when battling pulmonary fibrosis or recovering from a heart attack. His dedication pays off: despite the crumbling economy, viewers of the 2009 telethon donated $60.5 million.