David Letterman : biography
Letterman lived on the north side of Indianapolis (Broad Ripple area), not far from Speedway, IN, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he enjoyed collecting model cars, including racers.Gary Graves. "Letterman Gets Moment in Hot Seat." USA Today, May 23, 2005, p. 1C. 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 age 36, when David was a young boy. The fear of losing his father was constantly with Letterman as he grew up., a profile of Letterman by Bill Zehme from the May 2000 issue of Esquire The elder Letterman died of a second heart attack at age 57.
Letterman attended his hometown’s Broad Ripple High School at the same time as Marilyn Tucker (future wife of Dan Quayle) and worked as a stock boy at the local Atlas Supermarket. According to the Ball State Daily News, he originally had wanted to attend Indiana University, but his grades were not good enough, so he instead attended Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana.Gail Koch. "After Two Decades, Letterman Wit Shows No Signs of Stopping." Ball State Daily News, February 23, 2002. 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 due to receiving a draft lottery number of 352 (out of 366).Revealed on air during January 7, 2011 Late Show with David Letterman during interview with Regis Philbin.
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. from the Indiana Public Radio website He was fired for treating classical music with irreverence.
Letterman then became involved with the founding of another campus station—WAGO-AM 570 (now WWHI, 91.3).
Letterman credits Paul Dixon—host of the Paul Dixon Show, a Cincinnati-based talk show also shown in Indianapolis while Letterman was growing up—for inspiring his choice of career: "I was just out of college [in 1969], and I really didn’t know what I wanted to do. And then all of a sudden I saw him doing it [on TV]. And I thought: That’s really what I want to do!"
Letterman began his career as a radio talk show host on WNTS (AM), and on Indianapolis television station WLWI (now called WTHR) 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." Playboy Magazine October 1984. Retrieved October 3, 2009. 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. ("From space you can see the border between Indiana and Ohio has been erased. I’m not in favor of this.") 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. at Indystar.com. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
In 1971, Letterman appeared as a pit road reporter for ABC Sports’ tape-delayed coverage of the Indianapolis 500. Letterman was initially introduced as Chris Economaki in his job as a corner reporter. Letterman interviewed Mario Andretti, who had just crashed out of the race.