David Letterman
American television personality
David Letterman
David Michael Letterman is an American television host and comedian. He hosts the late night television talk show, Late Show with David Letterman, broadcast on CBS. Letterman has been a fixture on late night television since the 1982 debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC. Letterman recently surpassed friend and mentor Johnny Carson for having the longest late-night hosting career in the United States of America. Letterman is also a television and film producer.
Biography
David Letterman's personal information overview.
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News
News abour David Letterman from around the web
CNN's 'The History of Comedy' Is Funny How?
Huffington Post - 15 days
President Donald Trump derides CNN as fake news. Does that mean "The History of Comedy," an eight-part documentary series premiering on the network Thurs. Feb. 9, is fake jokes? No, this is the real deal; a deep dive into a century of one-liners, pratfalls, and social commentary; of vaudeville, burlesque and nightclubs, of stand-up, satire and silliness. As the title of the first episode, "F***ing Funny," indicates, don't expect the decorum of Ken Burns' "The Civil War," or a strict chronology for that matter. Of the first three episodes viewed, each is more about context, how we got from Lenny Bruce to Louis C.K., from Jean Carroll (forgotten today but an acknowledged inspiration to Lily Tomlin) to Sarah Silverman, and from how comedians take their life into their own hands every time they go on stage, as Larry David observes in episode three, to what Maria Bamford celebrates as "the triumph of a good joke." "It's about how comedians work, the process, and who broke b ...
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Huffington Post article
Celebrate Winter with Festivals in Canada!
Huffington Post - 18 days
By Caitlin Leonard, ZEALnyc Contributing Writer, February 10, 2017 As the winter season continues, a great way to break away from your regular routine is on a weekend or for a short-getaway. Come check out what your nearby neighbors in Canada are up to with their many exciting and unique winter festivals. Whether you've always wanted to experience an ice-wine tasting, ice sculpting, or even a ride down an ice slide, Canada's many inviting winter festivals have got you covered. Quebec City Quebec Winter Carnival: through Februay 12, 2017 Sledding at the Quebec Winter Carnival Celebrations are still going strong at the Quebec Winter Carnival which comes from a long-standing tradition in Canadian culture since 1894. Taking place at the end of January to mid-February every year, it is notably the world's largest winter carnival. Providing a chance to light-heartedly embrace the chilly weather, the festival brings night parades, a sugar shack, snow sculptures, axe throwi ...
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Huffington Post article
A-Listers Party At The White House Until Morning To Say Goodbye To Barack Obama
Huffington Post - about 2 months
With only two weeks left until Barack and Michelle Obama vacate the White House for good, the first family welcomed a host of celebrity guests on Friday night for a star-studded farewell party.  Aside from an awards show, there haven’t been this many famous people gathered in one room since a casting call for a holiday-themed Garry Marshall romantic comedy.  The White House bash effectively serves as the kickoff to events celebrating President Obama’s time in office, leading up to his final address, which he’ll deliver in Chicago on Jan. 10. Days later, President-elect Donald Trump will call 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. home after his inauguration, for which he’s struggled to find big-name performers.  In contrast, Obama’s farewell party attracted some of the biggest A-listers around. Attendees reportedly included Meryl Streep, George and Amal Clooney, Robert De Niro, Beyoncé and Jay Z, Nick Jonas, Jordin Sparks, David Letterman, Paul McCartney, Kelly Rowland, Olivia Wilde and Jas ...
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Huffington Post article
Dear Mr. Trump, You Won! Now... Step Away From The Podium.
Huffington Post - 2 months
Dear Mr. Trump, Congratulations! You won! You proved that every Democrat, every other Republican, every pollster, and all left-leaning journalists were wrong. You made your point and it was a good one. You pointed out in your uniquely politically incorrect way the flaws that were right in front of our faces: Hillary is crooked, the Clinton dynasty is corrupt, Jeb is low energy, Marco is well, "little," Carly is unattractive, the left-wing media is completely biased, pollsters and intellectuals are too stupid to see your genius, Mexican immigrants are bringing drugs into the country, Muslims are terrorists, hardworking Americans need jobs, and elections are rigged. There is probably some small kernel of truth in all of those claims, which demonstrates the genius of your pointed remarks. Thank you for exposing the ugly underbelly of American politics. Republicans are thrilled that after eight long, frustrating years, they have the White House...and a majority in both houses of ...
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Huffington Post article
Tina Fey Is Worried About What The Internet Is Doing To Society
Huffington Post - 3 months
A little less than two weeks after Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, Tina Fey and David Letterman, two giants of the comedy world, sat down at Circo in Manhattan to discuss, well, a bit of everything.  In the interview, which was published Wednesday in conjunction with The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Power 100 breakfast, Fey talked parenting, and friends, and bedtimes, and Lorne Michaels. But the meat of the article lay in breaking down the world we find ourselves in. A world that, in Fey’s eyes, feels a bit like a slowly climbing rollercoaster that has suddenly started to fall backwards. I definitely came out of last month feeling misogyny is much more real than two years ago. Tina Fey  “It feels like we were on the precipice of things getting pretty good, and now we’re in a bit of a throwback moment. I definitely came out of last month feeling misogyny is much more real than two years ago,” Fey told Letterman. “But the thing I worry ...
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Huffington Post article
HUFFPOST HILL - What It's Like To Be 16 And Retweeted By The President-Elect
Huffington Post - 3 months
Nancy Pelosi has led House Democrats so long she remembers when Virginia Foxx was the craziest member of the opposition. Senate Republicans are looking to sync better with Donald Trump, so OF COURSE they’re begging an octogenarian Mormon from Utah to stay in the upper chamber. And Donald Trump’s administration will contain an amount of Goldman Sachs employees and other Wall Street veterans typically found only in Alex Jones’ “Da Vinci Code” fan fiction and Dalton parent-teacher conference day. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, November 30th, 2016: WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE 16 AND RETWEETED BY THE PRESIDENT-ELECT (A READOUT OF THE TIME WE DMed WITH A TEENAGER) - Monday evening, as President-elect Trump was tirading against CNN, 16-year-old California high school student Seth Morton tweeted at the network’s Jeff Zeleny, “Pathetic - you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame! @realDonaldTrump.” As sometimes happens when a teenager demands s ...
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Huffington Post article
Ditch Your TV and Get Fat Under President Trump
Huffington Post - 3 months
Now that the world is slowly coming to grips with the fact that Donald J. Trump will be our next Commander N. Chief, I have a message for our nation's television salespeople: "Be afraid. Be very afraid." If you work on commission, netting a tidy profit for every Samsung, Sharp and LG flat-panel that you ring up at Best Buy or another fine electronics establishment, consider the story of my good friend, Tom Ryan. A Queens, N.Y.-based stand-up comedian, with two David Letterman appearances on his resume, Ryan did with his TV what 40 percent of married couples eventually do with each other. He got a divorce. And a quickie at that. "I unhooked it, took it out to the curb and put it in front of the trashcans," he said. Attached to the TV-turned-garbage artifact was a Ryan-authored sign: "This TV works perfectly fine but Donald Trump will be appearing on it for the next four years so take it free of charge." A neighbor snapped up the TV, which was just fine with Ryan. Wh ...
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Huffington Post article
MerleFest Announces Initial Lineup for 30th Celebration in April 2017
Huffington Post - 3 months
The good folks at MerleFest, which is slated for April 27-30, 2017, have announced the initial lineup for the festival's 30th anniversary celebration and I am happy to say it's full of the usual suspects: Jim Lauderdale, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Del McCoury and Peter Rowan. No surprise there as most of these musicians have been involved in the festival since its inception. I am particularly excited to see Mountain Heart, Front Country, Chatham County Line, Scythian and Swift Creek in the lineup. Josh Shilling, Mountain Heart's frontman, is also excited about returning to MerleFest. "We've played the festival a few times, but I'm super excited for everyone to see the band's new configuration," he says. "The members of Mountain Heart have literally been going to MerleFest since we were old enough to walk. To be returning again to the Watson Stage not only as fans, but as performers, means the world to us. MerleFest is one of the top festivals in the world to experience. The loc ...
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Huffington Post article
David Letterman Investigates Solar Energy in India
Yahoo News - 4 months
On the season premiere of Years of Living Dangerously, we found out what David Letterman has been doing during his retirement. He traveled to India to experience the huge growth of solar power currently occurring there. Letterman was less the dry-witted comedian American audiences had come to know than he was a thoughtful observer.
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Yahoo News article
Sex-Positive Artist Marilyn Minter Celebrates Glam, Glitter And Gunk
Huffington Post - 4 months
Miley Cyrus gazes out from behind a wall of glass, drops of dew festooning her features: her platinum bangs, her sculpted brows, her glossy, made-up lips. The foggy vision makes her look like a dream, inaccessible to mere fans. The portrait was taken by Marilyn Minter, an artist whose photorealistic paintings center on glamour, fashion and femininity. Since the 1980s, Minter’s work has depicted both the allure of magazine-touted beauty and the grimy realities that lie beneath it. She captures polished toenails and muddy feet, glittery lips and slurping mouths. Decades’ worth of her work is on display at The Brooklyn Museum starting Nov. 4 in an exhibition called “Pretty/Dirty.” There you’ll find portraits she took of her mother ― a glamorous addict who embodied the paradoxes that Minter has come to represent. You’ll find videos of tongues brushing against some kind of goopy green product, commentary on consumption in all its forms. But you won’t find her most recent work ― t ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Sex-Positive Artist Marilyn Minter Celebrates Glam, Glitter And Gunk
Huffington Post - 4 months
Miley Cyrus gazes out from behind a wall of glass, drops of dew festooning her features: her platinum bangs, her sculpted brows, her glossy, made-up lips. The foggy vision makes her look like a dream, inaccessible to mere fans. The portrait was taken by Marilyn Minter, an artist whose photorealistic paintings center on glamour, fashion and femininity. Since the 1980s, Minter’s work has depicted both the allure of magazine-touted beauty and the grimy realities that lie beneath it. She captures polished toenails and muddy feet, glittery lips and slurping mouths. Decades’ worth of her work is on display at The Brooklyn Museum starting Nov. 4 in an exhibition called “Pretty/Dirty.” There you’ll find portraits she took of her mother ― a glamorous addict who embodied the paradoxes that Minter has come to represent. You’ll find videos of tongues brushing against some kind of goopy green product, commentary on consumption in all its forms. But you won’t find her most recent work ― t ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Part Three: New York City
Huffington Post - 4 months
The first decade of our marriage, my husband Glenn and I had one niece and one nephew. It made it very easy to begin a tradition that would eventually become unsustainable. Our siblings started to procreate willy nilly starting in the mid 1990's, and we now have a total of 13 wonderful nieces and nephews. But for a while there, in the late 80's and early 90's, Rachel and her brother Dave were the only show in town. We began to host them for a week each, in the summer. We began calling it Camp Thomas, and we'd schedule vacation days to devote our full attention to our charges. We would try and tailor the week around them, and what they liked to do. We did lots of field trips to zoos, museums, the State Capitol, and Fort Snelling. We'd go roller-skating around the lakes or take in a Twins game at the old Metrodome. It was kind of like entertaining an out of town client, who happens to be in grade school. Since they lived in Fargo-Moorhead, and we live in the Twin Cities, ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of David Letterman
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 68
    In 2016, Letterman joined the climate change documentary show Years of Living Dangerously as one of the show's celebrity correspondents.
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  • 2015
    Age 67
    In 2015, he said that "For years and years and years – 30, 40 years – I was anxious and hypochondriacal and an alcoholic, and many, many other things that made me different from other people."
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    In 2015, Forbes estimated that Letterman's annual income was $35 million.
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    Letterman's last episode aired on May 20, 2015, and opened with a presidential send off featuring the four of the five living American presidents, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, each mimicking the late president Gerald Ford's statement that "Our long national nightmare is over."
    More Details Hide Details It also featured cameos from The Simpsons and Wheel of Fortune (the latter with a puzzle saying "Good riddance to David Letterman"), a Top Ten List of "things I wish I could have said to David Letterman" performed by regular guests including Alec Baldwin, Barbara Walters, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Peyton Manning, Tina Fey, and Bill Murray, and closed with a montage of scenes from both his CBS and NBC series set to a live performance of "Everlong" by Foo Fighters. The final episode of Late Show with David Letterman was watched by 13.76 million viewers in the United States with an audience share of 9.3/24, earning the show its highest ratings since following the 1994 Olympics on February 25, 1994, and the show's highest demo numbers (4.1 in adults 25-54 and 3.1 in adults 18-49) since Oprah Winfrey's first Late Show appearance following the ending of her feud with Letterman on December 1, 2005. In a rarity for a late-night show, it was also the highest-rated program on network television that night, beating out all prime-time shows. In total, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history.
    Philbin again interviewed Letterman (and Shaffer) while guest-hosting CBS' The Late Late Show (between the tenures of Craig Ferguson and James Corden) on January 27, 2015.
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    His contract was subsequently extended to 2015.
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  • 2014
    Age 66
    During the taping of his April 3, 2014, show, Letterman announced that he had informed CBS president Leslie Moonves that he would retire from hosting Late Show by May 20, 2015.
    More Details Hide Details It was announced soon after that comedian and political satirist Stephen Colbert would succeed Letterman.
  • 2013
    Age 65
    On November 5, 2013, Letterman and Bruce McCall published a fiction satire book titled This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me).
    More Details Hide Details ISBN 0-399-16368-9 Letterman started his production company—Worldwide Pants Incorporated—which produced his show and several others, including Everybody Loves Raymond; The Late Late Show and two television series for Bonnie Hunt. Worldwide Pants also produced the dramedy program Ed which aired on NBC from 2000–2004. It was Letterman's first association with NBC since he left the network in 1993. During the run of Ed, the star, Tom Cavanagh, appeared as a guest on the Late Show several times. In 2005, Worldwide Pants produced its first feature film, Strangers with Candy, which was a prequel to the Comedy Central TV series of the same title. In 2007, Worldwide Pants produced the ABC comedy series, Knights of Prosperity. Worldwide Pants made significant news in December 2007 when it was announced that Letterman's company had independently negotiated its own contract with the Writers Guild of America, East, thus allowing Letterman, Craig Ferguson, and their writers to return to work, while the union continued its strike against production companies, networks and studios who had not reached an agreement.
    In June 2013, he appeared in the second episode of season two of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
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    Winfrey interviewed Letterman in January 2013 on Oprah's Next Chapter.
    More Details Hide Details Winfrey and Letterman discussed their feud during the interview and Winfrey revealed that she had had a "terrible experience" while appearing on Letterman's show years earlier. Letterman could not recall the incident but apologized.
  • 2012
    Age 64
    Letterman was a recipient of the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors, where he was called "one of the most influential personalities in the history of television, entertaining an entire generation of late-night viewers with his unconventional wit and charm."
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    Known for rarely giving interviews, Letterman appeared as a guest on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight on May 29, 2012, when he was interviewed by Regis Philbin, the guest host and long-time friend.
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    In April 2012, CBS announced it had extended its contract with Letterman through 2014.
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    Murray later went on to become one of Letterman's most recurrent guests, guesting on the show's 30th anniversary episode, which aired January 31, 2012 and on the very last show, which aired May 20, 2015.
    More Details Hide Details The show ran Monday through Thursday at 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time, immediately following The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (a Friday night broadcast was added in June 1987). It was seen as being edgy and unpredictable, and soon developed a cult following (particularly among college students). Letterman's reputation as an acerbic interviewer was borne out in verbal sparring matches with Cher (who even called him an asshole on the show), Shirley MacLaine, Charles Grodin, and Madonna. The show also featured comedy segments and running characters, in a style heavily influenced by the 1950s and 1960s programs of Steve Allen. Although Ernie Kovacs is often cited as an influence on the show, Letterman has denied this. The show often featured quirky, genre-mocking regular features, including "Stupid Pet Tricks" (which had its origins on Letterman's morning show), Stupid Human Tricks, dropping various objects off the roof of a five-story building, demonstrations of unorthodox clothing (such as suits made of Alka-Seltzer, Velcro and suet), a recurring Top 10 list, the Monkey-Cam (and the Audience Cam), a facetious letter-answering segment, several "Films by My Dog Bob" in which a camera was mounted on Letterman's own dog (often with comic results) and Small Town News, all of which would eventually move with Letterman to CBS.
    As of 2012, he still owned the truck.
    More Details Hide Details In Los Angeles, he began performing comedy at The Comedy Store. Jimmie Walker saw him on stage; with an endorsement from George Miller, Letterman joined a group of comedians whom Walker hired to write jokes for his stand-up act, a group that at various times would also include Jay Leno, Paul Mooney, Robert Schimmel, Richard Jeni, Louie Anderson, Elayne Boosler, Byron Allen, Jack Handey, and Steve Oedekerk.
  • 2011
    Age 63
    He won four American Comedy Awards and in 2011 became the first recipient of the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence at The Comedy Awards.
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  • 2009
    Age 61
    On October 5, 2009, Letterman devoted a segment of his show to a public apology to his wife and staff.
    More Details Hide Details Three days later, Worldwide Pants announced that Birkitt had been placed on a "paid leave of absence" from the Late Show. On October 15, CBS News announced that the company's Chief Investigative Correspondent, Armen Keteyian, had been assigned to conduct an "in-depth investigation" into Letterman. On September 7, 2007, Letterman visited his alma mater, Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, for the dedication of a communications facility named in his honor for his dedication to the university. The million, David Letterman Communication and Media Building opened for the 2007 fall semester. Thousands of Ball State students, faculty, and local residents welcomed Letterman back to Indiana. Letterman's emotional speech touched on his struggles as a college student and his late father, and also included the "top ten good things about having your name on a building", finishing with "if reasonable people can put my name on a million building, anything is possible." Over many years Letterman "has provided substantial assistance to State's Department of Telecommunications, including an annual scholarship that bears his name."
    On October 3, 2009, a former CBS employee, Holly Hester, announced that she and Letterman had engaged in a year-long "secret" affair in the early 1990s while she was his intern and a student at New York University.
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    He was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury and pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted grand larceny on October 2, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Eventually, on March 9, 2010, he pleaded guilty to this same felony and served a six-month jail sentence, followed by probation and community service. A central figure in the case and one of the women with whom Letterman had had a sexual relationship was his longtime personal assistant Stephanie Birkitt, who often appeared with him on his show. She had also worked for 48 Hours. Until a month prior to the revelations, she had shared a residence with Halderman, who allegedly had copied her personal diary and used it, along with private emails, in the blackmail package. In the days following the initial announcement of the affairs and the arrest, several prominent women, including Kathie Lee Gifford, co-host of NBC's Today Show, and NBC news anchor Ann Curry questioned whether Letterman's affairs with subordinates created an unfair working environment. A spokesman for Worldwide Pants said that the company's sexual harassment policy did not prohibit sexual relationships between managers and employees. According to business news reporter Eve Tahmincioglu, "CBS suppliers are supposed to follow the company's business conduct policies" and the CBS 2008 Business Conduct Statement states that "If a consenting romantic or sexual relationship between a supervisor and a direct or indirect subordinate should develop, CBS requires the supervisor to disclose this information to his or her Company's Human Resources Department ".
    On October 1, 2009, Letterman announced on his show that he had been the victim of a blackmail attempt by someone threatening to reveal that he had had sex with several of his female employees, and at the same time, he confirmed that he had had such relationships.
    More Details Hide Details He stated that three weeks earlier (on September 9, 2009) someone had left a package in his car with material he said he would write into a screenplay and a book if Letterman did not pay him million. Letterman said that he contacted the Manhattan District Attorney's office, ultimately cooperating with them to conduct a sting operation involving giving the man a phony check. Subsequently, Robert J. "Joe" Halderman, a producer of the CBS true crime journalism series 48 Hours, was arrested after trying to deposit the check.
    Letterman and Lasko wed on March 19, 2009, during a quiet courthouse civil ceremony in Choteau, Montana, where he purchased a ranch in 1999.
    More Details Hide Details Letterman announced the marriage during the taping of his March 23 show, shortly after congratulating Bruce Willis for getting married the previous week. Letterman told the audience he nearly missed the ceremony because his truck became stuck in mud two miles from their house. The family resides in North Salem, New York, on a 108-acre estate. Letterman suffers from tinnitus (ringing in the ears), which is a symptom of hearing loss. On the Late Show in 1996, Letterman talked about his tinnitus in an interview he did with actor William Shatner, who has severe tinnitus himself, caused from an on-set explosion. Letterman said at first he could not figure out where the noise in his head was coming from and that he hears constant noises and ringing in his ears 24 hours a day. Letterman no longer drinks alcohol and has on more than one occasion said that he had once been a "horrible alcoholic" and had begun drinking around the age of 13 until the age of 34, in 1981: "I was drunk 80% of the time... I loved it. I was one of those guys, I looked around, and everyone else had stopped drinking and I couldn't understand why." When he is shown on the Late Show (or, before that, on Late Night) drinking what appears to be alcohol, it is actually substituted with apple juice by the crew.
  • 2008
    Age 60
    His beard was shaved off during the show on January 7, 2008.
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    Late Show went off air for eight weeks during the months of November and December because of the Writers Guild of America strike. Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, was the first company to make an individual agreement with the WGA, thus allowing his show to come back on air on January 2, 2008.
    More Details Hide Details On his first episode since being off air, he surprised the viewing audience with his newly grown beard, which signified solidarity with the strike.
    On his June 10 show, Letterman responded to the controversy, saying the jokes were meant to be about Palin's eighteen-year-old daughter, Bristol, whose pregnancy as an unmarried teenager caused controversy during the United States presidential election of 2008. "These are not jokes made about (Palin's) 14-year-old daughter," he said. "I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl."
    More Details Hide Details His remarks did not put an end to public criticism, however. The National Organization for Women released a statement supporting Palin, noting that Letterman had given only "something of an apology." When the controversy failed to subside, Letterman addressed the issue again on his June 15 show, faulting himself for the error and apologizing "especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke." On August 17, 2011, it was reported that an Islamist militant had posted a death threat against Letterman on a website frequented by Al-Qaeda supporters, calling on American Muslims to kill Letterman for making a joke about the death of an Al-Qaeda leader killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in June 2011, Ilyas Kashmiri. In his show on August 22, Letterman joked about the threat, saying "State Department authorities are looking into this. They're not taking this lightly. They're looking into it. They're questioning, they're interrogating, there's an electronic trail—but everybody knows it's Leno."
  • FIFTIES
  • 2007
    Age 59
    On September 10, 2007, Letterman made his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
    More Details Hide Details Three years later, during CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLIV, the two appeared again in a Late Show promo, this time with Winfrey sitting on a couch between Letterman and Jay Leno. This time Letterman was wearing the retired 70 jersey of Colts' Hall of Fame and Letterman regular guest, Art Donovan. The appearance was Letterman's idea: Leno flew to New York City on an NBC corporate jet, sneaking into the Ed Sullivan Theater during the Late Shows February 4 taping wearing a disguise, meeting Winfrey and Letterman at a living room set created in the theater's balcony where they taped their promo.
    Winfrey and Letterman also appeared together in a Late Show promo that aired during CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLI in February 2007, with the two sitting next to each other on the couch watching the game.
    More Details Hide Details Since the game was played between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears, the Indianapolis-born Letterman wears a Peyton Manning jersey, while Winfrey—who tapes her show in Chicago—is in a Brian Urlacher jersey.
  • 2005
    Age 57
    The feud apparently ended in 2005 when Winfrey appeared on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman on December 2, in an event Letterman jokingly referred to as "the Super Bowl of Love".
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    In early 2005, it was revealed that Carson occasionally sent jokes to Letterman, who used these jokes in his monologue; according to CBS senior vice president Peter Lassally (a one-time producer for both men), Carson got "a big kick out of it."
    More Details Hide Details Letterman would do a characteristic Johnny Carson golf swing after delivering one of Carson's jokes. In a tribute to Carson, all of the opening monologue jokes during the first show following Carson's death were written by Carson. Lassally also claimed that Carson had always believed Letterman, not Leno, to be his "rightful successor." During the early years of the Late Shows run, Letterman occasionally used some of Carson's trademark bits, including "Carnac the Magnificent" (with Paul Shaffer as Carnac), "Stump the Band", and the "Week in Review." Oprah Winfrey appeared on Letterman's show when he was hosting NBC's Late Night on May 2, 1989. Following that appearance, the two had a 16-year feud which arose, as Winfrey explained to Letterman after the feud had been resolved, as a result of the acerbic tone of their 1989 interview of which she said that it "felt so uncomfortable to me that I didn't want to have that experience again".
  • 2002
    Age 54
    In March 2002, as Letterman's contract with CBS neared expiration, ABC offered him the time slot for long-running news program Nightline with Ted Koppel.
    More Details Hide Details Letterman was interested as he believed he could never match Leno's ratings at CBS due to Letterman's complaint of weaker lead-ins from the network's late local news programs, but was reluctant to replace Koppel. Letterman addressed his decision to re-sign on the air, stating that he was content at CBS and that he had great respect for Koppel. On December 4, 2006, CBS revealed that Letterman signed a new contract to host Late Show with David Letterman through the fall of 2010. "I'm thrilled to be continuing on at CBS," said Letterman. "At my age you really don't want to have to learn a new commute." Letterman further joked about the subject by pulling up his right pants leg, revealing a tattoo, presumably temporary, of the ABC logo. "Thirteen years ago, David Letterman put CBS late night on the map and in the process became one of the defining icons of our network," said Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS Corporation. His presence on our air is an ongoing source of pride, and the creativity and imagination that the Late Show puts forth every night is an ongoing display of the highest quality entertainment. We are truly honored that one of the most revered and talented entertainers of our time will continue to call CBS 'home.'
  • 2000
    Age 52
    Upon his return to the show on February 21, 2000, Letterman brought all but one of the doctors and nurses on stage who had participated in his surgery and recovery (with extra teasing of a nurse who had given him bed baths—"This woman has seen me naked!"), including Dr. O. Wayne Isom and physician Louis Aronne, who frequently appears on the show.
    More Details Hide Details In a show of emotion, Letterman was nearly in tears as he thanked the health care team with the words "These are the people who saved my life!" The episode earned an Emmy nomination. For a number of episodes, Letterman continued to crack jokes about his bypass, including saying, "Bypass surgery: it's when doctors surgically create new blood flow to your heart. A bypass is what happened to me when I didn't get The Tonight Show! It's a whole different thing." In a later running gag he lobbied his home state of Indiana to rename the freeway circling Indianapolis (I-465) "The David Letterman Bypass." He also featured a montage of faux news coverage of his bypass surgery, which included a clip of Letterman's heart for sale on the Home Shopping Network. Letterman became friends with his doctors and nurses. In 2008, a Rolling Stone interview stated he hosted a doctor and nurse who'd helped perform the emergency quintuple-bypass heart surgery that saved his life in 2000. 'These are people who were complete strangers when they opened my chest,' he says. 'And now, eight years later, they're among my best friends.'
    On January 14, 2000, a routine check-up revealed that an artery in Letterman's heart was severely obstructed.
    More Details Hide Details He was rushed to emergency surgery for a quintuple bypass. During the initial weeks of his recovery, reruns of the Late Show were shown and introduced by friends of Letterman including Drew Barrymore, Ray Romano, Robin Williams, Bonnie Hunt, Megan Mullally, Bill Murray, Regis Philbin, Charles Grodin, Nathan Lane, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Short, Steven Seagal, Hillary Clinton, Danny DeVito, Steve Martin, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Subsequently, while still recovering from surgery, Letterman revived the late night tradition that had virtually disappeared on network television during the 1990s of 'guest hosts' by allowing Bill Cosby, Kathie Lee Gifford, Dana Carvey, Janeane Garofalo, and others to host new episodes of the Late Show.
  • 1998
    Age 50
    After she committed suicide in October 1998, Letterman told The New York Times that he had great compassion for her.
    More Details Hide Details A spokesperson for Letterman said: "This is a sad ending to a confused life."
  • FORTIES
  • 1995
    Age 47
    On March 27, 1995, Letterman acted as the host for the 67th Academy Awards ceremony.
    More Details Hide Details Critics blasted Letterman for what they deemed a poor hosting of the Oscars, noting that his irreverent style undermined the traditional importance and glamor of the event. In a joke about their unusual names (inspired by a celebrated comic essay in The New Yorker, "Yma Dream" by Thomas Meehan), he started off by introducing Uma Thurman to Oprah Winfrey, and then both of them to Keanu Reeves: "Oprah Uma. Uma Oprah," "Have you kids met Keanu?" This and many of his other jokes fell flat. Although Letterman attracted the highest ratings to the annual telecast since 1983, many felt that the bad publicity garnered by Letterman's hosting caused a decline in the Late Shows ratings. Letterman recycled the apparent debacle into a long-running gag. On his first show after the Oscars, he joked, "Looking back, I had no idea that thing was being televised." He lampooned his stint two years later, during Billy Crystal's opening Oscar skit, which also parodied the plane-crashing scenes from that year's chief nominated film, The English Patient.
  • 1993
    Age 45
    From 1993 to 2009, Letterman ranked higher than Leno in the annual Harris Poll of Nation's Favorite TV Personality 12 times.
    More Details Hide Details For example, in 2003 and 2004 Letterman ranked second in that poll, behind only Oprah Winfrey, a year that Leno was ranked fifth. Leno was higher than Letterman on that poll three times during the same period, in 1998, 2007, and 2008.
    The new show debuted on August 30, 1993, and was taped at the historic Ed Sullivan Theater, where Ed Sullivan broadcast his eponymous variety series from 1948 to 1971.
    More Details Hide Details For Letterman's arrival, CBS spent million in renovations. In addition to that cost, CBS also signed Letterman to a lucrative three-year, million/year contract, doubling his Late Night salary. The total cost for everything (renovations, negotiation right paid to NBC, signing Letterman, announcer Bill Wendell, Shaffer, the writers and the band) was over million. But while the expectation was that Letterman would retain his unique style and sense of humor with the move, Late Show was not an exact replica of his old NBC program. Recognizing the more formal mood (and wider audience) of his new time slot and studio, Letterman eschewed his trademark blazer with khaki pants and white wrestling shoes wardrobe combination in favor of expensive shoes, tailored suits and light-colored socks. The monologue was lengthened. Paul Shaffer and the "World's Most Dangerous Band" followed Letterman to CBS, but they added a brass section and were rebranded the "CBS Orchestra" as a short monologue and a small band were mandated by Carson while Letterman occupied the 12:30 slot. Additionally, because of intellectual property disagreements, Letterman was unable to import many of his Late Night segments verbatim, but he sidestepped this problem by simply renaming them (the "Top Ten List" became the "Late Show Top Ten", "Viewer Mail" became the "CBS Mailbag", etc.)
  • 1992
    Age 44
    In 1992, Johnny Carson retired, and many fans believed that Letterman would become host of The Tonight Show.
    More Details Hide Details When NBC instead gave the job to Jay Leno, Letterman departed NBC to host his own late-night show on CBS, opposite The Tonight Show at 11:30 p.m., called the Late Show with David Letterman.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1986
    Age 38
    Letterman and Regina Lasko (born November 20, 1960) started dating in February 1986, while he was still living with Markoe.
    More Details Hide Details He has a son, Harry Joseph Letterman (born November 3, 2003), with her. Harry is named after Letterman's father. In 2005, police discovered a plot to kidnap Harry Letterman and ransom him for million. Kelly Frank, a house painter who had worked for Letterman, was charged in the conspiracy.
  • 1982
    Age 34
    NBC kept Letterman under contract to try him in a different time slot. Late Night with David Letterman debuted February 1, 1982; the first guest on the first show was Bill Murray.
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    He hosted a late night television talk show for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982, debut of Late Night with David Letterman on NBC, and ending with the May 20, 2015, broadcast of the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.
    More Details Hide Details In total, Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history. In 1996 Letterman was ranked 45 on TV Guides 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. Letterman is also a television and film producer. His company, Worldwide Pants, produced his show and formerly produced The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Worldwide Pants has also produced several prime-time comedies, the most successful of which was Everybody Loves Raymond, currently in syndication. Several late-night hosts have cited Letterman's influence, including Conan O'Brien (his successor on Late Night), Stephen Colbert (his successor on The Late Show), Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers. Letterman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father, Harry Joseph Letterman (1915– 1973), was a florist. His mother, Dorothy Marie (Hofert) (1921-), a church secretary, was an occasional figure on Letterman's show, usually at holidays and birthdays. His mother is of German descent, and his father had English, Scots-Irish, and German ancestry.
  • 1980
    Age 32
    On June 23, 1980, Letterman was given his own morning comedy show on NBC, The David Letterman Show.
    More Details Hide Details It was originally 90 minutes long, but was shortened to 60 minutes in August 1980. The show was a critical success, winning two Emmy Awards, but was a ratings disappointment and was canceled in October 1980.
  • 1978
    Age 30
    He also had a long-term relationship and lived with former head writer and producer on Late Night, Merrill Markoe (born August 13, 1948) from 1978 to 1988.
    More Details Hide Details Markoe was the mind behind several Late Night staples, such as "Stupid Pet/Human Tricks".
    His dry, sarcastic humor caught the attention of scouts for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and Letterman was soon a regular guest on the show. Letterman became a favorite of Carson and was a regular guest host for the show beginning in 1978.
    More Details Hide Details Letterman credits Carson as the person who influenced his career the most.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1977
    Age 29
    He hosted a 1977 pilot for a game show entitled The Riddlers (that was never picked up), and co-starred in the Barry Levinson-produced comedy special Peeping Times that aired in January 1978.
    More Details Hide Details Later that year, Letterman was a cast member on Mary Tyler Moore's variety show, Mary. Letterman made a guest appearance on Mork & Mindy (as a parody of EST leader Werner Erhard) and appearances on game shows such as The $20,000 Pyramid, The Gong Show, Hollywood Squares, Password Plus and Liar's Club, as well as talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show (3 April 1979 and 7 February 1980). He was also screen tested for the lead role in the 1980 film Airplane!, a role that eventually went to Robert Hays.
    By the summer of 1977, Letterman was a writer and regular on the six-week summer series The Starland Vocal Band Show, broadcast on CBS.
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  • 1975
    Age 27
    In 1975, encouraged by his then-wife Michelle and several of his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers, Letterman moved to Los Angeles, California, with hope of becoming a comedy writer.
    More Details Hide Details He and Michelle packed their belongings in his pickup truck and headed west.
  • 1971
    Age 23
    In 1971 Letterman appeared as a pit road reporter for ABC Sports' tape-delayed coverage of the Indianapolis 500.
    More Details Hide Details Letterman was initially introduced as Chris Economaki, although this was corrected at the end of the interview. Letterman interviewed Mario Andretti, who had just crashed out of the race.
  • 1969
    Age 21
    He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and he graduated in 1969 from what was then the Department of Radio and Television.
    More Details Hide Details A self-described average student, Letterman later endowed a scholarship for what he called "C students" at Ball State. Though he registered for the draft and passed his physical after graduating from college, he was not drafted for service in Vietnam because of receiving a draft lottery number of 346 (out of 366). Letterman began his broadcasting career as an announcer and newscaster at the college's student-run radio station—WBST—a 10-watt campus station which now is part of Indiana Public Radio. He was fired for treating classical music with irreverence. He then became involved with the founding of another campus station—WAGO-AM 570 (now WWHI, 91.3). He credits Paul Dixon, host of the Paul Dixon Show, a Cincinnati-based talk show also shown in Indianapolis while he was growing up, for inspiring his choice of career: I was just out of college 1969, and I really didn't know what I wanted to do. And then all of a sudden I saw him doing it TV. And I thought: That's really what I want to do!
  • 1968
    Age 20
    On July 2, 1968, Letterman married his college sweetheart Michelle Cook (born July 2, 1946) in Muncie, Indiana; the marriage ended in divorce by October 1977.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1947
    Born
    Born on April 12, 1947.
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