Society

David Letterman's Mom Is Dead At 95

| by David Bonner

David Letterman's mother, who often appeared on his show, has died. She was 95.

Dorothy Mengering's death was confirmed on April 11 by David's publicist, Tom Keaney, The Associated Press reports.

She became an unlikely celebrity as a result of her many appearances on her son's "Late Night" and "Late Show" programs, notes ABC News.

Her first appearances were via satellite from her kitchen in Indiana, for a segment called, "Guess Mom's Pies."

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That eventually led to a cookbook titled: "Home Cookin' With Dave's Mom." In addition to recipes for many of the pies which she made for the show, it included "Dave's Fried Baloney Sandwich" and similar fare.

David later expanded her role and had her do such things as cover the Olympics as a reporter.

She was a correspondent for David's "Late Show" on CBS at the Winter Olympics for three years, beginning in 1994 at Lillehammer, Norway. She would appear wearing bulky snow gear and report with an ironic sincerity that fit the show's absurdity perfectly.

"After Lillehammer, I couldn't believe how it all took off," Mengering told The New York Times in 1996. "I think it's about the idea of mom and of a family. People are eager for families to be like they used to be. Even though there are lots of working moms and single-parent families now, you can still be a family in spite of the size and form it takes.”

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Thanks to her down-home, Midwestern style, she quickly became an audience favorite.

She lived all her life in Indiana, where she was married to Harry Letterman from 1942 until his death in 1973, after which she married Hans P. Mengering, who died in 2013.

David’s successor, Stephen Colbert, posted a note of condolence on Twitter after hearing the news. "I’m so sorry to hear of Dorothy Mengering’s death, and so grateful that Dave shared her with us."

David left the "Late Show" in 2015, after surpassing Johnny Carson as the longest-running host of a late night talk show.

After reportedly spending a few years as somewhat of a recluse, he emerged recently sporting a big, white beard. "I just got tired of shaving every day, but then it became something else, and I’m not quite sure what it became," he explained to The New York Times. "The beard is a good reminder to me that that was a different life. I’m hopeful that I will either find something else, or something else will be presented to me. My family has given up on the beard. My son thinks it’s creepy."

He holds little nostalgia for the show that made him a household name. "I don’t miss late-night television," he said. "And I’m a little embarrassed that, for 33 years, it was the laser focus of my life. ... It took a lot of energy, and it probably would have been better expended elsewhere. Now it just seems like, really, that’s what you did?"

Sources: ABC News, The New York Times / Photo credit: Obama White House/Flickr

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