Veteran actor Jerry Lewis to receive humanitarian award at Oscars
www.chinaview.cn 2009-02-23 09:58:33   Print

Special Report: The 81th Annual Academy Awards 

    LOS ANGELES, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Veteran Hollywood actor and comedian Jerry Lewis is slated to receive the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 81st annual Academy Awards ceremony here Sunday night for his years of work on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

    Lewis, who helped found the MDA in the early 1950s, has served as the organization's national chairman since 1952. The 82-year-old actor is best known for the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon, which has raised more than 2 billion dollars since 1966.

    "Jerry is a legendary comedian who has not only brought laughter to millions around the world but has also helped thousands upon thousands by raising funds and awareness for those suffering from muscular dystrophy," said Sid Ganis, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which hands out the Oscars.

    However, about 10 activists, many in wheelchairs, gathered Sunday afternoon near the Kodak Theater, where the Oscar ceremony is held, to protest the award.

    A spokeswoman for the group of disability advocates said Lewis "trades on the dignity of people with disabilities" in order to raise money and offers "pity, not progress."

    Lewis offers an inaccurate view of the disabled as "half a person," said the spokeswoman, Janine Bertram Kemp.

    According to Kemp, nearly 50 activists with "very little money and resources" assembled from around the United States earlier Friday to protest the award and had a meeting with AMPAS officials.

    Although the award will be bestowed as announced, the protests were being continued in hopes of further educating the public, Kemp said.

    The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is given out to recognize the humanitarian efforts of an individual in the film industry.

Editor: Deng Shasha
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