David Letterman has been a late-night TV show host for more than 30 years. His show Late Night With David Letterman premiered on February 1982 on NBC, where it followed the famed Tonight Show hosted by Johnny Carson. Letterman's show became a huge hit with college students and night owls, justly famous for its offbeat humor and nightly "Top Ten" lists. Letterman's background was eclectic: he graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana in 1969, and was once an all-purpose announcer on station WLWI in Indianapolis, a job which included introducing movies and serving as a substitute weatherman. He worked his way into stand-up comedy (appearing on Carson's show in 1978) and wrote and performed on various comedy shows, including his own failed morning show on NBC. He clicked almost immediately in the late-night spot, and his show was a hit throughout the 1980s. Letterman later made no secret of his wish to host the Tonight Show once Carson retired; when NBC gave that job to Jay Leno instead in 1992, Letterman jumped to CBS and began the competing The Late Show with David Letterman. He remained a fixture in the time slot for the next 23 years. On 1 October 2009, Letterman stunned his audience by announcing on his show he was the victim of an extortion attempt by a CBS employee, who threatened to reveal that Letterman had slept with unnamed female staffers from his show. Letterman admitted that the claim was true, and the incident eventually blew over. On 3 March 2014, he announced on the air that he would retire in 2015; his final show was eventually set for 20 May 2015. He will be succeeded as host by Stephen Colbert, whose first show as host of the The Late Show will be in September of 2015.
David Letterman married his girlfriend of 23 years, Regina Lasko, on 19 March 2009. They have a son, Harry, born in 2003? He was married to college sweetheart Michelle Cook from 1970-1977? An auto racing enthusiast, he formed the Rahal Letterman racing team with former driver Bobby Rahal? In January of 2000, David Letterman missed five weeks of shows after undergoing quintuple bypass heart surgery? David Letterman?s musical sidekick, Paul Shaffer, has been the music director for Letterman?s shows since the debut of Late Night in 1982.
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