There is some very sad news coming out this evening regarding a late-night TV institution. Dorothy Mengering, who was better known as David Letterman’s mom (or “Dave’s mom”) through many appearances on his late-night programs, has passed away at the age of 95. This news was confirmed on Tuesday by reporter Ron Brackett, who was informed the news by Dorothy’s daughter.
One of the highlights of Letterman’s late-night tenure were the recurring segments where he would feature his mother, and the two would have often a very-silly exchange. Sometimes, she’d read the top ten list, or would simply make fun of him. If you look below, you can see a rather-amusing montage of some of her best moments on the show. She was never over-used, that way whenever she turned up, you would look forward to her and know that she’d bring a little bit of funny to the table. That was what was great about many of the recurring people who turned up on The Late Show and Late Night before that. They were in on the joke, which was great given that Letterman often treated the fact that he had the show as a joke.
In some ways now, not having Dave on the air makes the love and adulation for him all the more presence. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. These sort of segments are one of the reasons people get so attached to late-night television, and you do see a lot of that when it comes to Jimmy Kimmel’s own late-night show. He studied Dave and idolized him as a kid, and his show is probably the closest thing to The Late Show out of anything on the air.
Our thoughts go out to Letterman and his entire family during this difficult time. She lived a long and likely full life, and he must be grateful for all of the time that he had with her.
Letterman last made an appearance that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, where he helped to celebrate the music of the band Pearl Jam. Since his show ended, he’s kept largely away from the public eye. (Photo: CBS.)