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David Letterman

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Status: Single
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Biography

In 1969, Letterman married Michelle Cook; the marriage ended in 1977. He also had a long-term relationship with former head writer and producer on Late Night, Merrill Markoe. Letterman has one son together with his longtime girlfriend Regina Lasko, Harry Joseph, born November 3, 2003. He is named for Letterman's father, Harry Joe Letterman. They currently reside in North Salem, New York.

Letterman's ironic, often absurd comedy is heavily influenced by former Tonight Show hosts Steve Allen, Johnny Carson and Jack Paar.

In 1975, Letterman moved to Los Angeles, California with hopes of becoming a comedy writer and started writing material for sitcoms such as Good Times. He also began performing stand-up comedy at The Comedy Store, a famed Los Angeles comedy club and proving ground for young comics.

Letterman remained with NBC for eleven years. Upon Johnny Carson’s unexpected announcement that he would retire in May 1992, a protracted, multilateral battle erupted over who would replace the long-time Tonight host. Eventually, executives at NBC announced Carson's frequent guest-host Jay Leno as Carson's replacement, despite Carson's professed desire to see the torch passed to Dave. Letterman had ironically become a victim of his own success — NBC’s confirming Letterman's high ratings in the 12:30 (EST) time-slot signaled that the network preferred to hold on to Letterman in the 'Late Night' gig. Letterman, a long-time protégé of Carson's who had frequently credited Johnny with boosting his career, was reportedly bitterly disappointed and angry at not having been given the job on the Tonight Show.

"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.' "

Letterman started his own production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, which produces his show and several others, including Everybody Loves Raymond, The Late Late Show, and several critically acclaimed, but short-lived television series for Bonnie Hunt. Worldwide Pants also produced the dramedy program Ed, starring Tom Cavanagh, which aired on NBC from 2000-2004. It was Letterman's first association with NBC since he left the network in 1993. During Ed's run, Cavanagh appeared as a guest on The Late Show several times.

On September 7, 2007, Letterman visited his alma mater, Ball State University, for the dedication of a communications facility named in his honor. The $21 million, 75,000-square-foot David Letterman Communication and Media Building opened for the 2007 Fall semester. It features state-of-the-art recording equipment and facilities. 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, but also included "Top Ten Best things about having your name on a Building."

Letterman also received a Sagamore of the Wabash from Governor Mitch Daniels. Letterman joked that it would mean so much more had the governor actually been there to present it.



 


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