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LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Jerry Lewis' 41st annual Labor Day holiday weekend telethon raised a record $61 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, organizers in Las Vegas said Monday.

The contributions and pledges raised during the 21 1/2-hour event handily beat last year's haul of $55 million. The 2005 telethon was hit by national fund raising for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Indeed, Lewis earmarked $1 million from the telethon for the Salvation Army's relief efforts in the South.

This year's nationally televised event took place in the comic's adopted hometown of Las Vegas after a 12-year run in Hollywood. Lewis, 80, hosted, despite suffering a heart attack in June. He has never missed a telethon despite a litany of ailments over the years, including back pain, addiction to painkillers and an inflammatory lung disorder.

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