Biography

After stints as a weatherman, news anchor and stand-up comic, this sarcastic gap-toothed performer came to prominence in the 1980s with a late-night talk show on NBC. His offbeat signature bits (Tonight's Top 10, Stupid Pet Tricks), surly attitude and frequent send-ups of the entertainment industry made him a hit with critics and viewers. When NBC failed to give Letterman The Tonight Show after Johnny Carson retired, the disgruntled comedian jumped to CBS in 1993 and began hosting The Late Show With David Letterman. His long-term relationship with girlfriend and collaborator Merrill Markoe ended in 1987, and at age 56 he had a son with girlfriend Regina Lasko, whom he later married on March 19, 2009 (after dating her for 23 years). Letterman tries to be fanatically secretive about his private life, but this plan went off course in the wake of an extortion case in the fall of 2009, when he helped the Manhattan DA's office arrest a man who blackmailed him over information regarding his relationships with several female staffers. Off screen, Letterman is the co-owner of the Rahal Letterman Racing Team, which won the Indy 500 in 2004.

Fast Facts

  • Started out as a TV weatherman and congratulated a tropical storm on being upgraded to hurricane status.
  • Won several Daytime Emmys in 1980 for The David Letterman Show, which was canceled after three months.
  • Hosted the Academy Awards in 1995. 
  • Ended his fake feud with Oprah Winfrey in 2005 when she appeared on his show; he later returned the favor and was a guest on her show in 2007.
  • Admitted to having relationships with some of his staffers and interns and helped foil a 2009 extortion plot against him involving these affairs.
  • Co-owner of the Rahal Letterman Racing Team, which won the Indy 500 in 2004.
  • Celebrated 30 years in late-night television in 2012.

Awards

  • 1992, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2004, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2002, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1992, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program (series): Nominee
  • 1994, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1986, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1988, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1985, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Winner
  • 2003, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Winner
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Children's Nonfiction Program: Nominee
  • 1987, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Winner
  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1986, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Winner
  • 1985, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1991, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2009, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1990, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 1989, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2006, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2009, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1989, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1994, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 2007, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1987, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program: Nominee
  • 2005, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host: Winner
  • 1985, Emmy — Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee

Relationships

  • Dorothy Letterman — Mother
  • Gretchen — Sister
  • Harry Joseph Letterman — Father
  • Harry Joseph Letterman — Son
  • Janice — Sister
  • Merrill Markoe — Ex-significant Other
  • Michele Cook — Ex-wife
  • Regina Lasko — Wife

College

  • Ball State University, Muncie, IN (BA in Telecommunications, 1969)

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Details

  • Birth Name: David Michael Letterman
  • Birth Place: Indianapolis, IN
  • Birthday: April 12, 1947, Aries
  • Profession: TV talk-show host, Comedy writer, Comedian, Television producer
  • User Rating:2.71 out of 5 (312 ratings)
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