|Occupation:||TV Show Host|
|Height:||188 cm (6' 3'')|
|Birth Day:||April 12, 1947|
|Birth Place:||Indianapolis, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|188 cm (6' 3'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
He worked as a weatherman for AM radio station WNTS and anchored on Indianapolis television station WLWI.
Letterman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1947, and has two sisters, one older and one younger. His father, Harry Joseph Letterman (April 15, 1915 – February 13, 1973), was a florist. His mother, Dorothy Marie Letterman Mengering (née Hofert; July 18, 1921 – April 11, 2017), a church secretary for the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, was an occasional figure on Letterman's show, usually at holidays and birthdays.
On July 2, 1968, Letterman married his college sweetheart, Michelle Cook, in Muncie, Indiana; their marriage ended in divorce by October 1977. He also had a long-term cohabiting relationship with the former head writer and producer on Late Night, Merrill Markoe, from 1978 to 1988. Markoe was the mind behind several Late Night staples, such as "Stupid Pet/Human Tricks". Time magazine stated that theirs was the defining relationship of Letterman's career with Merrill also acting as his writing partner. She "put the surrealism in Letterman's comedy."
Letterman attended his hometown's Broad Ripple High School and worked as a stock boy at the local Atlas Supermarket. According to the Ball State Daily News, he had originally wanted to attend Indiana University, but his grades were not good enough, so he instead attended Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana. He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and he graduated in 1969 from what was then the Department of Radio and Television. 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).
Soon after graduating from Ball State in 1969, Letterman began his career as a radio talk show host on WNTS (AM) and on Indianapolis television station WLWI (which changed its call sign to WTHR in 1976) as an anchor and weatherman. He received some attention for his unpredictable on-air behavior, which included congratulating a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane and predicting hail stones "the size of canned hams." He would also occasionally report the weather and the day's very high and low temps for fictitious cities ("Eight inches of snow in Bingree and surrounding areas"), while on another occasion saying that a state border had been erased when a satellite map accidentally omitted the state border between Indiana and Ohio, attributing it to dirty political dealings. ("The higher-ups have removed the border between Indiana and Ohio making it one giant state. Personally, I'm against it. I don't know what to do about it.") He also starred in a local kiddie show, made wisecracks as host of a late-night TV show called "Freeze-Dried Movies" (he once acted out a scene from Godzilla using plastic dinosaurs), and hosted a talk show that aired early on Saturday mornings called Clover Power, in which he interviewed 4-H members about their projects.
In 1971, Letterman appeared as a pit road reporter for ABC Sports' tape-delayed coverage of the Indianapolis 500, which was his first nationally telecast appearance (WLWI was the local ABC affiliate at the time). Letterman was initially introduced as Chris Economaki, although this was corrected at the end of the interview (Jim McKay announced his name as Dave Letterman). Letterman interviewed Mario Andretti, who had just crashed out of the race.
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. He and Michelle packed their belongings in his pickup truck and headed west. As of 2012, he still owned the truck. 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.
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. He hosted a 1977 pilot for a game show entitled The Riddlers (which was never picked up), and co-starred in the Barry Levinson-produced comedy special Peeping Times, which aired in January 1978. 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 the Canadian cooking show Celebrity Cooks (November 1977), talk shows such as 90 Minutes Live (February 24 and April 14, 1978), and The Mike Douglas Show (April 3, 1979 and February 7, 1980). He was also screen tested for the lead role in the 1980 film Airplane!, a role that eventually went to Robert Hays.
Letterman's brand of dry, sarcastic humor caught the attention of scouts for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and he was soon a regular guest on the show. He became a favorite of Carson and was a regular guest host for the show beginning in 1978. Letterman credits Carson as the person who influenced his career the most.
On June 23, 1980, Letterman was given his own morning comedy show on NBC, The David Letterman Show. 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, the last show airing October 24, 1980.
Letterman no longer drinks alcohol. On more than one occasion, he said that he had once been a "horrible alcoholic" and had begun drinking around the age of 13 and continued until 1981 when he was 34. He recounts 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 drinking what appears to be alcohol on Late Night or the Late Show, it is actually replaced with apple juice by the crew.
Other episodes included Letterman using a bullhorn to interrupt a live interview on The Today Show, announcing that he was the NBC News president and that he was not wearing any pants; walking across the hall to Studio 6B, at the time the news studio for WNBC-TV, and interrupting Al Roker's weather segments during Live at Five; and staging "elevator races", complete with commentary by NBC Sports' Bob Costas. In one appearance, in 1982, Andy Kaufman (who was wearing a neck brace) appeared with professional wrestler Jerry Lawler, who slapped and knocked the comedian to the ground (though Lawler and Kaufman's friend Bob Zmuda later revealed that the incident was staged).
Letterman and Regina Lasko started dating in February 1986, while he was still living with Markoe. Lasko gave birth to a son in 2003. In 2005, police discovered a plot to kidnap his son and demand a ransom of US$5 million. Kelly Frank, a house painter who had worked for Letterman, was charged in the conspiracy.
Beginning in May 1988, Letterman was stalked by Margaret Mary Ray, a woman suffering from schizophrenia. She stole his Porsche, camped out on his tennis court, and repeatedly broke into his house. Her exploits drew national attention, with Letterman occasionally joking about her on his show, although he never referred to her by name. After she killed herself at age 46 in October 1998, Letterman told The New York Times that he had great compassion for her. A spokesperson for Letterman said: "This is a sad ending to a confused life."
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". 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".
Letterman started his production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, which produced his show and several others, in 1991. The company also produces feature films and documentaries and founded its own record label, Clear Entertainment. Worldwide Pants received significant attention in December 2007, after it was announced the 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 with whom it had not yet reached agreements.
In 1992, Johnny Carson retired and many fans believed that Letterman would become host of The Tonight Show. 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. 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. For Letterman's arrival, CBS spent US$8 million in renovations. In addition to that cost, CBS also signed Letterman to a lucrative three-year, US$14 million/year contract, doubling his Late Night salary. The total cost for everything (renovations, negotiation right paid to NBC, signing Letterman, announcer Bill Wendell, Paul Shaffer, the writers and the band) was over US$140 million.
The main competitor of the Late Show was NBC's The Tonight Show, which was hosted by Jay Leno for 22 years, but from June 1, 2009, to January 22, 2010, was hosted by Conan O'Brien. In 1993 and 1994, the Late Show consistently gained higher ratings than The Tonight Show. But in 1995, ratings dipped and Leno's show consistently beat Letterman's in the ratings from the time that Hugh Grant came on Leno's show after Grant's arrest for soliciting a prostitute.
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 Winter 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. Bill Murray, who had been his first guest on Late Night, was his final guest on Late Show. 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 6,080 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.
On March 27, 1995, Letterman acted as the host for the 67th Academy Awards ceremony. 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 Show's ratings.
Letterman provided vocals for the Warren Zevon song "Hit Somebody" from My Ride's Here, and provided the voice for Butt-head's father in the 1996 animated film Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, once again credited as Earl Hofert.
Letterman suffers from tinnitus, a symptom of hearing loss. On the Late Show in 1996, Letterman talked about his experience with tinnitus during an interview with William Shatner, who himself has severe tinnitus caused by an on-set explosion. Letterman has stated that initially he was unable to pinpoint the noise inside his head, and that he hears a constant ringing in his ears 24 hours a day.
Letterman grew up on the north side of Indianapolis, in the Broad Ripple area, about 12 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He enjoyed collecting model cars, including racers. In 2000, he told an interviewer for Esquire that, while growing up, he admired his father's ability to tell jokes and be the life of the party. Harry Joseph Letterman survived a heart attack at the age of 36, when David was a young boy. The fear of losing his father was constantly with Letterman as he grew up. The elder Letterman died of a second heart attack in 1973, at the age of 57.
On January 14, 2000, a routine check-up revealed that an artery in Letterman's heart was severely obstructed. He was rushed to emergency surgery for a quintuple bypass at New York Presbyterian Hospital. During the initial weeks of his recovery, reruns of the Late Show were shown and introduced by friends of Letterman including Norm Macdonald, 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 talk show tradition of "guest hosts" that had virtually disappeared on network television during the 1990s by allowing Bill Cosby, Kathie Lee Gifford, Dana Carvey, Janeane Garofalo, and others to host new episodes of the Late Show. 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 appeared on the show. 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.
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. Letterman was interested as he believed he could never match Jay 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.
Letterman's shows have garnered both critical and industry praise, receiving 67 Emmy Award nominations, winning 12 times in his first 20 years in late night television. From 1993 to 2009, Letterman ranked higher than Leno in the annual Harris Poll of Nation's Favorite TV Personality 12 times. 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.
Letterman again handed over the reins of the show to several guest hosts (including Bill Cosby, Brad Garrett, Whoopi Goldberg, Elvis Costello, John McEnroe, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Bonnie Hunt, Luke Wilson, and bandleader Paul Shaffer) in February 2003, when he was diagnosed with a severe case of shingles. Later that year, Letterman made regular use of guest hosts—including Tom Arnold and Kelsey Grammer—for new shows broadcast on Fridays. In March 2007, Adam Sandler, who had been scheduled to be the lead guest, served as a guest host while Letterman was ill with a stomach virus.
Letterman, Bobby Rahal, and Mike Lanigan are co-owners of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, an auto racing team competing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and NTT IndyCar series. The team has twice won the Indianapolis 500: in 2004 with driver Buddy Rice, and in 2020 with Takuma Sato.
Carson later made a few cameo appearances as a guest on Letterman's show. Carson's final television appearance came May 13, 1994, on a Late Show episode taped in Los Angeles, when he made a surprise appearance during a Top 10 list segment. 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." 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.
In 2005 another person was able to obtain a restraining order from a New Mexico judge, prohibiting Letterman from contacting her. She claimed the New York-based Letterman had sent coded messages to her via his television program, causing her bankruptcy and emotional distress. Law professor Eugene Volokh described the case as "patently frivolous".
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.
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. Since the game was played between the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears, the Indianapolis-born Letterman wears a Peyton Manning jersey, while Winfrey, whose show was taped in Chicago, wears a Brian Urlacher jersey. On September 10, 2007, Letterman made his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Late Show went off air for eight weeks in 2007 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 the air on January 2, 2008. On his first episode since returning from off air, he surprised the viewing audience with his newly grown beard, which signified solidarity with the strike. His beard was shaved off during the show on January 7, 2008.
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 US$21 million, 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m) 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 US$21 million building, anything is possible." Over many years Letterman "has provided substantial assistance to [Ball State's] Department of Telecommunications, including an annual scholarship that bears his name."
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
Leno typically attracted about five million nightly viewers between 1999 and 2009. The Late Show lost nearly half its audience during its competition with Leno, attracting 7.1 million viewers nightly in its 1993–94 season and about 3.8 million per night as of Leno's departure in 2009. In the final months of his first stint as host of The Tonight Show, Leno beat Letterman in the ratings by a 1.3 million viewer margin (5.2 million to 3.9 million), and Nightline and the Late Show were virtually tied. Once O'Brien took over Tonight, however, Letterman closed the gap in the ratings. O'Brien initially drove the median age of Tonight Show viewers from 55 to 45, with most older viewers opting to watch the Late Show instead. Following Leno's return to The Tonight Show, however, Leno regained his lead.
According to a 2007 article in Forbes magazine, Letterman earned US$40 million a year. A 2009 article in The New York Times, however, said his salary was estimated at US$32 million per year. In June 2009, Letterman's Worldwide Pants and CBS reached an agreement to continue the Late Show until at least August 2012. The previous contract had been set to expire in 2010, and the two-year extension is shorter than the typical three-year contract period negotiated in the past. Worldwide Pants agreed to lower its fee for the show, though it had remained a "solid moneymaker for CBS" under the previous contract.
Letterman and Lasko wed on March 19, 2009, during a quiet courthouse civil ceremony in Choteau, Montana, where he had purchased a ranch in 1999. Letterman announced the marriage during the taping of his show of March 23, shortly after congratulating Bruce Willis for his marriage the week before. 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 acres (44 hectares) estate.
On October 1, 2009, Letterman announced on his show that he had been the victim of a blackmail attempt by a person threatening to reveal his sexual relationships with several of his female employees – a fact Letterman immediately thereafter confirmed to be true. He stated that 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 US$2 million. Letterman said that he contacted the Manhattan District Attorney's office and partook in a sting operation that involved the handover of a fake check to his extortionist.
Subsequently, Joe Halderman, a producer of the CBS news magazine television series 48 Hours, was arrested around noon (EST) on October 1, 2009 after trying to deposit the check. He was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury following testimony from Letterman and pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted grand larceny on October 2, 2009. Halderman pleaded guilty in March 2010 and was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by probation and community service.
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. On October 5, 2009, Letterman devoted a segment of his show to a public apology to his wife and staff. 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.
For years afterward, Letterman recounted his hosting the Oscars, although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continued to hold Letterman in high regard and they had invited him to host the Oscars again. On September 7, 2010, he made an appearance on the premiere of the 14th season of The View, and confirmed that he had been considered for hosting again.
In 2010, a documentary directed by Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina, Dying to do Letterman, was released, featuring Steve Mazan, a stand-up comic, who has cancer and wants to appear on the Letterman show. The film won best documentary and jury awards at the Cinequest Film Festival. Mazan published a book of the same name (full title Dying to Do Letterman: Turning Someday into Today) about his own saga.
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 Ilyas Kashmiri, an Al-Qaeda leader who was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan in June 2011. 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."
In his capacities as either a performer, producer, or as part of a writing team, Letterman is among the most nominated people in the history of the Emmy Awards with 52 nominations, winning two Daytime Emmys and ten Primetime Emmys since 1981. 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.
On the February 3, 2011, edition of the Late Show, during an interview with Howard Stern, Letterman said he would continue to do his talk show for "maybe two years, I think." In April 2012, CBS announced it had extended its contract with Letterman through 2014. His contract was subsequently extended to 2015.
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 Letterman's long-time friend. 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. In June 2013, Letterman appeared in the second episode of season two of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. 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). ISBN 0-399-16368-9
Letterman is a car enthusiast and owns an extensive collection. In 2012, it was reported that the collection consisted of ten Ferraris, eight Porsches, four Austin-Healeys, two Honda motorcycles, a Chevy pickup, and one car each from automakers Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, MG, Volvo, and Pontiac.
Winfrey interviewed Letterman in January 2013 on Oprah's Next Chapter. 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.
In his 2013 appearance on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, part of Jerry Seinfeld's conversation with Letterman was filmed in Letterman's 1995 Volvo 960 station wagon, which is powered by a 380-horsepower racing engine. Paul Newman had the car built for Letterman.
During the taping of his show on April 3, 2014, Letterman announced that he had informed CBS president Leslie Moonves that he would retire from hosting Late Show by May 20, 2015. However, later in his retirement Letterman occasionally stated, in jest, that he was fired. It was announced soon after that comedian and political satirist Stephen Colbert would succeed Letterman. Letterman's last episode aired on May 20, 2015, and opened with a presidential send-off featuring 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." 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.
Letterman shares a close relationship with the rock and roll band Foo Fighters since their appearance on his first show upon his return from heart surgery. The band appeared many times on the Late Show, including a week-long stint in October 2014. While introducing the band's performance of "Miracle" on the show of October 17, 2014, Letterman told the story of how a souvenir video of himself and his four-year-old son learning to ski used the song as background music, unbeknownst to Letterman until he saw it. He stated: "This is the second song of theirs that will always have great, great meaning for me for the rest of my life". This was the first time the band had heard this story. Worldwide Pants co-produced Dave Grohl's Sonic Highways TV series. "Letterman was the first person to get behind this project," Grohl stated.
In 2015, Letterman stated about his anxiety: "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." He became calmer through a combination of transcendental meditation and low doses of medication. Letterman is a Presbyterian, a religious tradition he was originally brought up in by his mother. However, he once said he is motivated by "Lutheran, Midwestern guilt".
In 2016, Letterman joined the climate change documentary show Years of Living Dangerously as one of the show's celebrity correspondents. In season two's premiere episode, Letterman traveled to India to investigate the country's efforts to expand its inadequate energy grid, power its booming economy, and bring electricity to 300 million citizens for the first time. He also interviewed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and traveled to rural villages where power is a scarce luxury and explored the United States' role in India's energy future.
On April 7, 2017, Letterman gave the induction speech for the band Pearl Jam into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame at a ceremony held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York City. Also in 2017, Letterman and Alec Baldwin co-hosted The Essentials on Turner Classic Movies. Letterman and Baldwin introduced seven films for the series.
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." On May 16, 2017, Letterman was named the next recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the award granted annually by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He received the prize in a ceremony on October 22, 2017.
In 2018, Letterman began hosting a six-episode monthly series of hour-long programs on Netflix consisting of long-form interviews and field segments. The show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, premiered January 12, 2018, featuring Barack Obama as its first guest. The second season premiered on May 31, 2019. Season 3 premiered on October 21, 2020 which includes Kim Kardashian West, Robert Downey Jr., Dave Chappelle and Lizzo as guests.
Currently, David Letterman is 75 years, 2 months and 14 days old. David Letterman will celebrate 76th birthday on a Wednesday 12th of April 2023.
Find out about David Letterman birthday activities in timeline view here.