David Letterman

55

David Letterman : biography

April 12, 1947 –

Other memorable moments included Letterman using a bullhorn to interrupt a live interview on The Today Show, announcing that he was the NBC News president while not wearing any pants; and staging "elevator races", complete with commentary by NBC Sports’ Bob Costas. In one infamous appearance, in 1982, Andy Kaufman (who was already wearing a neck brace) appeared; interrupting Al Roker on WNBC-TV’s broadcast of Live at Five by walking into their studio (which occupied the same floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza as Letterman’s studio) to be slapped and knocked to the ground by professional wrestler Jerry Lawler (though Lawler and Kaufman’s friend Bob Zmuda later revealed that the event was staged.) This scene was re-created in the film "Man in the Moon" starring Jim Carrey

In another memorable exchange, sex expert Dr. Ruth Westheimer included cucumbers in a list of handy sex objects that women could find at home. The following night, guest Ted Koppel asked Letterman "May I insert something here?" and Dave responded "OK, as long as it's not a cucumber." 

Other projects

Worldwide Pants

Letterman started his own production company—Worldwide Pants Incorporated—which produced 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, 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, the star, Tom Cavanagh, appeared as a guest on The Late Show several times.

In 2005, Worldwide Pants produced its first feature film, Strangers with Candy, which was a prequel to the Comedy Central TV series of the same title. In 2007, Worldwide Pants produced the ABC comedy series, Knights of Prosperity.

Worldwide Pants made significant news in December 2007 when it was announced that Letterman’s 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 who had not reached an agreement.

Record company

In late April 2010, several music industry websites reported that Letterman started a record label named Clear Entertainment/C.E. Music and signed his first artist, Runner Runner. Lucy Walsh announced on her MySpace page that she has been signed by Letterman and Clear Entertainment/C.E. Music and is working on her album.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLLR) is an auto racing team that currently races in the American Le Mans Series, and full-time in the IZOD IndyCar Series. It is co-owned by 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, businessman Mike Lanigan, and Letterman himself, and is based in Hilliard, Ohio. The team won the 2004 Indianapolis 500 with driver Buddy Rice. Letterman was a pit reporter for ABC in the 1971 Indianapolis 500.

American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming

American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming is Letterman’s private foundation. Through it, Letterman has donated millions of dollars to charities and other non-profits in Indiana and Montana, celebrity-affiliated organizations such as Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, universities such as Ball State, and other organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, and Doctors Without Borders.

Awards and honors

Awards

In his capacities as either a writer, producer, performer, or as part of a writing team, Letterman is among the most nominated people in Emmy Award history with 52 nominations, winning two Daytime Emmys and five Primetime Emmys since 1981. His nomination record is second only to producer Jac Venza, who holds the record for the most Emmy nominations for an individual (57). Letterman was nominated every year from 1984 to 2010. 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.

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."

David Letterman Communication and Media Building

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 $21 million, 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 $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."

At the same time, Letterman also received a Sagamore of the Wabash award given by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, which recognizes distinguished service to the state of Indiana.