David Letterman is an American television host who has worked the longest period hosting a late-night talk show in the history of American television. Beginning with the opening episode of ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ on February 1, 1982, on NBC, he had hosted a late-night television talk show for 33 years, till 2015. David Letterman was placed 45th on the TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time. Also a comedian and television and movie producer, he opened his own company, Worldwide Pants, that produced some of his shows and several prime-time comedies like ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and ‘The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson’.
Recognized for his “disrespectful” sense of humor, Letterman left NBC when the channel chose Jay Leno to replace Johnny Carson rather of him as the host of ‘The Tonight Show’. He then followed CBS and began hosting ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ which directly competed for viewership with ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’. In 2015, he announced his plans to retire from the show. A few years later, he turned to a new talk show series, which was premiered on Netflix in January 2018.
David Letterman Wiki/Bio[table id=1943 /]
Letterman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and has two sisters, one older and one younger. His father, Harry Joseph Letterman was a floriculturist. His mother, Dorothy Marie Letterman Mengering, a church administrator for the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, was an uncommon figure on Letterman’s show, regularly on holidays and birthdays.
Letterman raised up on the north side of Indianapolis, in the Broad Ripple area, about 12 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He appreciated collecting model cars, including racers. In 2000, he told an interviewer for Esquire that, while growing up, he admired his father’s capacity to put jokes and be the life of the party.
Harry Joseph Letterman withstood a heart attack at the age of 36 when David was a young boy. The horror of losing his father was regularly with Letterman as he grew up. The elder Letterman died of a second heart attack in 1973, at the age of 57.
Letterman joined his hometown’s Broad Ripple High School and served as a stock boy at the local Atlas Supermarket. He had basically wished to join Indiana University, but his grades were not good enough, so he instead joined Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana.
He is a part of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and he graduated in 1969 from what was then the Department of Radio and Television. An individual-described average student, Letterman later provided a scholarship for what he termed “C students” at Ball State. Though he enrolled for the draft and passed his physical after graduating from college, he was not selected for service in Vietnam because of getting a draft lottery number of 346 (out of 366).
Letterman started 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 a section of Indiana Public Radio. He was inflamed for treating classical music with irreverence. He then became associated with the founding of another campus station—WAGO-AM 570 (now WWHI, 91.3).
In January 2000, Dave was rushed to the ER for quintuple bypass surgery after doctors found a significant blockage in one of his arteries during a routine checkup. During his recovery, he operated the use of guest hosts for the show.
Dave married his college girlfriend Michelle Cook in 1968. They divorced in October 1977, just after their move to L.A. He was in a long-term relationship with Late Night producer Merrill Markoe from 1978-1988. She is supposed to have been a big impact on the development of his comedy style.
Letterman began dating Regina Lasko in February 1986, and Lasko gave birth to their son in 2003. The couple married in 2009 and the family resides in North Salem, NY.
In 2005, a plot to kidnap his son and demand a ransom of $5 million was uncovered by police. A house painter who had served for Letterman was charged in the conspiracy. Letterman was the victim of tried blackmail in 2009 by a person threatening to reveal his affairs with several of his female staffers. Letterman settled these affairs to be true and devoted a segment on his October 5, 2009, show to a public plea to his wife and staff.
Letterman has agreed to struggle with alcohol addiction and anxiety, and he no longer drinks.
David Letterman Net Worth
David Letterman has a net worth of $450 million.[table id=1944 /]
In years past, Letterman could undoubtedly earn $50 million a year in licensing and syndication fees, but that number has come down insignificantly in recent years.
David has used his package to become something of a real estate mogul. He owns a 108-acre estate in Westchester County, New York (purchase price: $5 million for 88 acres in 1994 and $5 million for the rest in 2007), a 2,700-acre ranch near Chateau, Montana; a place on Martha’s Vineyard; and a house in St. Barth’s. He co-owns Rahal Letterman Racing, an Indy Racing League team.[table id=1946 /]
David Letterman Movies And TV Shows – Career
- David Letterman began his career as the host of a radio talk show on WNTS (AM), and as an anchor and weatherman on Indianapolis television station WLWI.
- In 1971, he was a pit road reporter for ABC Sports’ Indianapolis 500.
- In 1975, he moved to Los Angeles to become a comedy writer and began performing at a comedy club called The Comedy Store. He followed American actor and comedian Jimmie Walker’s group of comedians to write jokes for his stand-up acts.
- He also composed material for popular shows like ‘Good Times’.
- In 1977, he shifted as a regular writer on the six-week series ‘The Starland Vocal Band Show’, broadcasted on CBS.
- In 1978, he became a cast member on Mary Tyler Moore’s variety show, ‘Mary’. Finally, he arrived at ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’ and soon became a frequent guest on the show.
- In June 1980, he got his first-morning comedy show on NBC, called the ‘The David Letterman Show’.
- Although it was critically successful, it failed to get good ratings and was finally canceled in October 1980.
- He then began hosting the show ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ in February 1982 at NBC. His fans loved his self-mockery and cynical sense of humor. Later, his style inspired numerous comedy talk shows.
- In 1992, when Johnny Carson retired, David Letterman expected that he would be offered Carson’s position at ‘The Tonight Show’. But instead, NBC offered the role to Jay Leno. As a result, David left NBC and joined CBS to host his own late-night show, in direct completion to ‘The Tonight Show.’
- His new show was named the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ and began broadcasting in August 1993.
- Although David Letterman held his unique sense of humor, this show was not an accurate replica of his old NBC show.
- From 1993 to 2009, David Letterman was rated higher than Leno 12 times in the annual Harris Poll of Nation’s Favorite TV Personality.
- In 2003 and 2004, Letterman’s show placed second, just behind Oprah Winfrey, and that year, Leno’s show was ranked fifth.
- However, Leno’s show was rated higher than David’s show during 2007 and 2008.
- In March 2002, as his contract with CBS was about to expire, ABC offered him a show, which he was interested to accept.
- But on December 4, 2006, CBS stated that Letterman had signed a new contract to host the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ till 2010.
- In April 2012, CBS stated that Letterman’s contract had been stretched till 2015. About 13.76 million viewers in the United States watched the final episode of his show which ended on May 20, 2015.
- In 2016, he joined a climate change documentary show ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ as one of the show’s celebrity guests.
- In 2017, he and Alec Baldwin co-hosted ‘The Essentials on Turner Classic Movies’.
- In 2018, he began hosting a six-episode series, ‘My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman’ on Netflix. The first episode on January 12, 2018, featured Barack Obama.
Facts About David Letterman
- He was held a fan favorite to be the replacement to host The Tonight Show after Johnny Carson’s retirement in 1992. However, NBC hired Jay Leno as the host for the show, indicating Letterman to depart NBC and start his own show the Late Show with David Letterman on CBS at the same time slot. Both the shows and the hosts became contestants vying for the highest rating throughout their tenure as hosts of the respective shows.
- He is an associate of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, which is an auto racing team along with Bobby Rahal (former auto racing driver) and businessman Michael Lanigan. The team was named a winner at the 2004 Indianapolis 500 with driver Buddy Rice.
- David owns a production company named Worldwide Pants which was founded in 1991. Previously, he also owned 2 other production companies named Space Age Meat and Cardboard Shoe Productions.
- While operating on the Late Night show, he had not missed a single day of work in his 18-year long career. But the unbeaten streak was broken when he had quintuple bypass surgery in January 2000.
- Letterman secured into the list of People Magazine’s ’25 Most Intriguing People of 2001′.
- In 2012, he won the Kennedy Center Honors along with the stars like Dustin Hoffman, Buddy Guy, Natalia Makarova, and the rock band Led Zeppelin.
- His mother Dorothy Mengering passed away due to natural causes on April 11, 2017, which occurred to be the day just before Letterman’s 70th birthday.
- Letterman has hosted a total of 6,028 episodes of the Late Night and the Late Show giving him the longest-serving late-night talk show host in the history of American television. His effort also led to surpass his good-friend and mentor Johnny Carson’s records.
- When he performed a joke about the death of Al-Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri, he instantly became the subject of a death threat. According to reports, in August 2011, the Islamist militant had influenced American Muslims to kill Letterman for the joke.
- In 2005, his house painter Kelly Frank became engaged in a plot to kidnap Letterman’s son Harry and to extort a ransom of US $5 million. The police found out in time and the charges for conspiracy were held against Frank.
- His show The Late Show With David Letterman got to the 7th spot on the 50 Greatest Shows of All Time by TV Guide in 2002.
- He suffers from tinnitus which is characterized by a ringing sound in the ears and is considered a symptom of hearing loss. In 1996 on the Late Show, he mentioned that he hears noises and ringing sounds throughout the day.
- David, in connection with Canadian author Bruce McCall, released a fiction satire book named This Land Was Made for You And Me (But Mostly Me) in November 2013.
- He inducted the rock band Pearl Jam into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in April 2017.
- Letterman had announced that he was a ‘horrible alcoholic’ having started when he was 13 and managed to kick the habit in 1981 at the age of 34. He credits original meditation and low doses of medication in helping him reach a calmer time in his life.
- Margaret Mary Ray gained national attention as Letterman’s stalker from May 1988. She was suffering from schizophrenia and had managed to steal his Porsche, burst into his house many times, and had also camped out on his tennis court. She committed suicide in October 1998 and Letterman expressed his grief at her sad demise.
- In 2009, Letterman confessed to having extramarital affairs with his female employees. After he was blackmailed and threatened with revealing his affairs in a screenplay or book if he didn’t comply with the ransom money of US$2 million, he decided to come clean about his past affairs. Letterman sought the help of the police and with a sting operation took Joe Halderman who was ultimately charged with grand larceny in October 2009.
Letterman quit in 2015 after 33 years as a late-night host on CBS US: CBS and NBC, and is beginning his second season on his more leisurely-paced Netflix show. That’s not true, DeGeneres told him. Yes, it is true, Letterman replied. It turns out nobody had the guts to fire me.
Stephen Colbert is replacing David Letterman as CBS’ late-night host. CBS announced Thursday that “The Colbert Report” host will replace Letterman when he retires next year. Colbert is signed for five years. Letterman has hosted “Late Show With David Letterman” since 1993.
Letterman’s first marriage to Michelle Cook crumbled after nine years, and the brutal breakup made him cautious about tying the knot again. However, in 2009, the legendary comedian wed his current wife, Regina Lasko, after 23 years of dating and having a child together, 11-year-old son Harry.
This is a classic Letterman. Dave wasn’t fired from CBS. Back in 2014, he announced he was (voluntarily) retiring from hosting the Late Show. He also wasn’t fired from NBC after the network’s controversial decision to give Jay Leno The Tonight Show after Johnny Carson’s 1992 retirement.