The Kennedy Center

David Letterman

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    Kennedy Center Honors Highlights 2012



Biography

Over 33 years on late-night television, David Letterman hosted 6,028 episodes of Late Night (NBC) and The Late Show (CBS), and was the longest-running late-night broadcaster in American history. As a writer, performer, and producer, Letterman is one of the most-nominated individuals in Emmy Award® history, with 52 nominations, resulting in 10 wins. Letterman is also a two-time Peabody-Award winner and a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Letterman's first network break came as a writer in 1978 on the CBS variety series Mary, starring Mary Tyler Moore. In November of that year, he made the first of his 22 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which he also guest-hosted numerous times. In 1980, Letterman began hosting a morning comedy-variety program, The David Letterman Show, which ran for three months on NBC. His groundbreaking show Late Night with David Letterman premiered in February 1982. Throughout its 11 years, Late Night earned five Emmys and 35 Emmy nominations. It was recently named as one of the top 20 greatest TV shows of all time by Rolling Stone.

On August 30, 1993, the Late Show with David Letterman made its debut on CBS, establishing itself as the first successful comedy/variety show in late night, outside of NBC. In its 22 years at CBS, Late Show launched the careers of countless comedians and musical acts. From his roots in comedy, Letterman also distinguished himself as an interviewer, sharing the stage with the U.S. Presidents, Cabinet officials, Medal of Honor recipients, and virtually every Presidential candidate for more than 20 years. Through his guest interviews, Letterman also brought to light important global issues such as world hunger and climate change.

Letterman announced his departure from Late Show in 2014, and aired his final episode on May 20th, 2015, to an audience of 13.76 million people.
David Letterman is 70, and resides in New York with his wife Regina and son Harry.
David Letterman