40 Facts About David Letterman

1. In total, David Letterman hosted 6,080 episodes of Late Night and Late Show, surpassing his friend and mentor Johnny Carson as the longest-serving late night talk show host in American television history.

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2. In 1996, David Letterman was ranked 45th on TV Guides 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.

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3. In 2002, The Late Show with David Letterman was ranked seventh on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.

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4. David Letterman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1947, and has two sisters, one older and one younger.

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5. David Letterman grew up on the north side of Indianapolis, in the Broad Ripple area, about 12 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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6. David Letterman is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and graduated in 1969 from what was then the Department of Radio and Television.

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7. David Letterman began his broadcasting career as an announcer and newscaster at the college's student-run radio station—WBST—a 10-watt campus station that is part of Indiana Public Radio.

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8. In 1971, David Letterman appeared as a pit road reporter for ABC Sports' tape-delayed coverage of the Indianapolis 500, which was his first nationally telecast appearance.

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9. In 1975, encouraged by his then-wife Michelle and several of his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers, David Letterman moved to Los Angeles, California, with the hope of becoming a comedy writer.

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10. Jimmie Walker saw him on stage; with an endorsement from George Miller, David Letterman joined a group of comedians whom Walker hired to write jokes for his stand-up act, a group that at various times included Jay Leno, Paul Mooney, Robert Schimmel, Richard Jeni, Louie Anderson, Elayne Boosler, Byron Allen, Jack Handey, and Steve Oedekerk.

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11. David Letterman hosted a 1977 pilot for a game show called The Riddlers, and co-starred in the Barry Levinson-produced comedy special Peeping Times, which aired in January 1978.

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12. Late Night with David Letterman debuted February 1, 1982; the first guest was Bill Murray.

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13. From 1993 to 2009, David Letterman ranked higher than Leno in the annual Harris Poll of Nation's Favorite TV Personality 12 times.

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14. On March 27, 1995, David Letterman hosted the 67th Academy Awards ceremony.

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15. Subsequently, while still recovering from surgery, David Letterman revived the late-night talk show tradition of "guest hosts" that had virtually disappeared on network television during the 1990s, allowing Bill Cosby, Kathie Lee Gifford, Dana Carvey, Janeane Garofalo, and others to host new episodes of the Late Show.

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16. David Letterman 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.

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17. Additionally, David Letterman invited the band Foo Fighters to play "Everlong", introducing them as "my favorite band, playing my favorite song.

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18. David Letterman made a surprise appearance on stage in San Antonio, Texas when he was invited up for an extended segment during Steve Martin's and Martin Short's A Very Stupid Conversation show, saying "I retired, and.

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19. In 2016, David Letterman joined the climate change documentary show Years of Living Dangerously as one of its celebrity correspondents.

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20. In season two's premiere episode, David 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.

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21. David Letterman 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.

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22. In 2018, David Letterman began hosting a six-episode monthly series of hour-long programs on Netflix consisting of long-form interviews and field segments.

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23. Winfrey and David Letterman appeared together in a Late Show promo aired during CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLI in February 2007, with the two sitting next to each other on a couch watching the game.

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24. On September 10, 2007, David Letterman made his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

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25. David Letterman wore the retired No 70 jersey of Art Donovan, a member of the Colts' Hall of Fame and a regular David Letterman guest.

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26. David Letterman appeared in the pilot episode of the short-lived 1986 series Coach Toast, and appears with a bag over his head as a guest on Bonnie Hunt's 1990s sitcom The Building.

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27. David 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, again credited as Earl Hofert.

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28. In 2010, a documentary directed by Joke Fincioen and Biagio Messina, Dying to do David Letterman, was released, featuring Steve Mazan, a standup comic, who has cancer and wants to appear on David Letterman's show.

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29. In June 2013, David Letterman appeared in the second episode of season two of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

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30. David Letterman mocked Bill Belichick after he was caught on camera wiping his nose with his shirt and was in the middle of recalling being with Roger Goodell when Goodell was booed at the unveiling of Peyton Manning's statue in Indianapolis when ESPN suddenly cut to commercials.

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31. On February 1, 2022, David Letterman was the guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers, marking the 40th anniversary of the franchise's debut.

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32. David Letterman started his production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated, which produced his show and several others, in 1991.

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33. In 2015, David Letterman said of 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.

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34. Kelly Frank, a house painter who had worked for David Letterman, was charged in the conspiracy.

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35. David Letterman told the audience he nearly missed the ceremony because his truck became stuck in mud two miles from their house.

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36. David Letterman said 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 $2 million.

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37. David Letterman's claimed he had sent her coded messages via his television program, causing her bankruptcy and emotional distress.

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38. On September 7, 2007, David 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.

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39. David Letterman 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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40. David Letterman received the prize in a ceremony on October 22, 2017.

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