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Look back at the celebs who made Dave's iconic late-night run so much fun to watch

cathy suhocki
letterman-bill-murray.jpg
1 of 10

Bill Murray

Nothing's lost in translation here. Murray was Letterman's first guest on Late Night in 1982 and Late Show in 1993, and has made 43 appearances over the years, each one weirder than the last. He started modestly, lamenting that Dave got out of the Midwest when he had a chance. "I'm just waiting for the other shoe to fall on you, man, and I want to be there when it hits the floor!" he said. "I had a chance to strangle Richard Nixon and I didn’t — and I regret it!” Since then,Murrayhas proposed a new theme song, dove into a dumpster, dressed up as a jockey, a New York GiantLiberace and most recently, Peter Pan.Murraywill, naturally, be Dave's final guest on The Late Show.

2 of 10

Teri Garr

In another lifetime, Dave and Teri would've been a killer comedy act. The actress was the perfect foil for Dave -- feisty, flirty with a bit of an edge -- and was once persuaded to take a shower on the show. A 32-time visitor to Late Night, she virtually disappeared off The Late Show after the two had a falling out because Garr shared a private exchange between them forBillCarter's book The Late Shift. They eventually kissed and made up, and Garr, who has multiple sclerosis, made her final appearance in June 2008, 18 months after suffering a brain aneurysm and learning to walk and talk again.

3 of 10

Tom Hanks

Hanks' Letterman farewell, where he taught him the art of the selfie stick, was his 60th appearance, going all the way back to Late Night in 1984, when he charmed Dave right off the bat. The actor is a favorite guest anywhere, but he's especially silly and animated opposite Dave, whether he's giddily teasing the ol' guy or regaling him with a crazy story. It's no accident that Dave has a Tom Hanks Button on his desk.

4 of 10

Howard Stern

The best part of the shock jock as Letterman's guest was that, unsurprisingly, he wasn't afraid to flip the tables and grill Dave himself. Even when they were at odds, the conversation was still interesting and entertaining. Plus, Stern has been proudly leading Team Dave in the late-night wars since the beginning, telling Letterman in 2013 that after he joined America's Got Talent, he refused to go on The Tonight Show out of loyalty. In his final appearance, he asked Dave why he extended an invite to Jay Leno for his final shows… before trying to kiss him.

5 of 10

Julia Roberts

Other people have been on more often, but Dave only has eyes for Julia. The duo's insane chemistry was palpable, and they gamely, shamelessly flirted up a storm every one of Roberts' 27 appearances. When the actress informed everyone that Letterman did not send her birthday flowers for the first time in 15 years in 2013, he summoned, "Alright, bring in the flowers. If she's gonna whine about it, bring in the flowers," engulfing her in bouquets. In her last appearance, sporting a Late Show letterman jacket, Dave brought Roberts to the middle of the stage and sealed it with a kiss.

6 of 10

Reegis Philbin

The longtime pals have always been there for each other – Reege filled in when Dave had heart surgery in 2000 and then shingles in 2003; Dave popped by the last week of Live! With Regis and Kelly in 2011 – and they have their shtick down pat whenever Philbin visited. Dave would give him a hard time about something, Regis will get exasperated, yelling ensues. It was so reliable that Philbin was on Letterman's first post-9/11 show. "Thank God Regis is here so we have something to make fun of," Dave said.

7 of 10

Steve Martin

Dave and Steve come from the same school of absurdist humor, so it's no surprise that they got on so well or that Martin brought his best stuff to the show. "I do believe some of my funniest moments have been on this show," Martin said during his final appearance earlier this month. That cued up the all-time classic, Dave and Steve's Gay Vacation, from 1998. "Looking back, it wasn't so much a gay vacation as a boys' vacation," Martin said afterward. "Speak for yourself, but I'm still deeply in love," Letterman quipped.

8 of 10

Robin Williams

The late comedian was a talk show host's dream and Letterman  acknowledged it as such after Williams' death last year. "One, I wouldn’t have to do anything. All I had to do is sit here and watch the machine," Letterman said. "And two, people would watch if they knew Robin was on the show, the viewership would go up because they wanted to see Robin. And believe me that wasn’t just true of television. I believe that was true of the kind of guy he was." Letterman and Williams, who was Dave's first guest after he returned from heart surgery, had been friends for 38 years after meeting at the Comedy Store. "It's like nothing we had ever seen before, nothing we had ever imagined before," Dave said of Williams' stand-up.

9 of 10

Bruce Willis

If you only know Willis by yippie-ki-yay, motherf---er, then you have absolutely no idea how funny he is or the lengths to which he will go to make an ass out of himself… all in the name of Dave. He's stolen balloons from T.G.I.Friday's, wore a Snuggie, hawked Bruce Willis' Amazing Exploding Underpantsinterned at Late Show and repeatedly offered his head as a prop display. In his final appearance, Willis, who guest-hosted in 2003 when Letterman had an eye infection, threw it all the way back to his first appearance in 1985, shirt, hair and all.

10 of 10

Amy Sedaris

Lovable oddball Sedaris has appeared onThe Late Show 34 times since 2001, and each time has been an unpredictable adventure. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about her imaginary boyfriend Ricky (who was murdered, FYI), her pet rabbit Dusty and her flailing cheese-ball business. Sedaris is a funny lady for sure, but her ricocheting conversational style is also a challenge. Which is why it’s so hilarious to watch Letterman squirm when Sedaris asks awkward questions about his personal life. (In one running gag, Sedaris pretends that she and Dave are having a secret affair and that she hates Dave’s wife.) In her final appearance, onApril 15, what could have been the usual obsequious tribute to Letterman’s legacy was instead as goofy as ever. “You’re like a New York staple,” Sedaris began. “You’re like the Turkish baths on 10th Street; you’re like scaffolding.” We’ll miss their chemistry, but fear not, Sedaris is good pals with Dave’s successor, Stephen Colbert (her co-star onStrangers with Candy), so we’re guessing her spot in CBS late night is secure for years to come.