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October 4, 2015

Letterman's illness pre-empts memorial tribute to Calvert DeForest

by Joel Keller, posted Mar 21st 2007 11:37AM
Calvert DeForest aka Larry According to TV writer Mark Evanier, Calvert DeForest, who played Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's NBC show, passed away on Thursday from a pneumonia-related heart attack. He was 85.

Everyone remembers DeForest as Melman; he was the little old man with the big glasses and putty-like face who would show up and inevitably bungle whatever lines he was given to read, often saying them very loudly in the process. He was a signature on the NBC show, and Dave continued to use him when the show moved to CBS (under Calvert's real name, due to intellectual property issues with NBC), but less frequently; DeForest's last appearance was in 2003.

Evanier got the information from an "authority" on the Letterman newsgroup, who also mentioned that the Late Show was set to air a tribute to DeForest last night, but delayed it when Letterman went home sick. Since there won't be a new taping until next week, the tribute will have to wait. I'm sure it'll be both poignant and funny at the same time.

[thanks to Elf for the tip.]

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I won a "date" once with Larry Bud Melman during a Dating Game skit at college many moons ago (1987 to be exact). As the winner, he surprised me with two kisses directly on my ever-so-unready lips. Needless to say, kissing his soft, putty-like face felt exactly like you'd expect. Later, we went out for burgers with Larry's manager and another friend and then back to a hotel to join Rita Rudner and Emo Phillips for some late night TV viewing. It was a memorable 21st birthday.

March 26 2007 at 12:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Solsbury, it's not a hoax. I just heard Brian Williams quote from a Letterman statement on the NBC Nightly News tonight. So, unless it's a really cruel practical joke, the bad news is apparently true.

To make you happy, here's the AP article, posted a mere 7 hours after ours.

March 21 2007 at 6:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Letterman had a memorial tribute to Calvert DeForest a few years ago. Of course, Calvert walked onto the stage all pissed off in the middle of the tribute.

March 21 2007 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where's the follow up that the report of his death was a hoax? Did you really think some fansite would have the "exclusive info" over the AP or Reuters?

This internet thing is out of hand.

March 21 2007 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

TomB and Corey... what are you talking about? I identify him as Larry "Bud" Melman right in the first paragraph of the post.

March 21 2007 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Monty Montgomery

Always loved this guy, especially in the NBC Letterman heyday. His Kenny the Gardner and Roy Orbison bits were my favorites. "So long suckers!"

However, I remember there being a short film that ran on like HBO before Letterman's late night show started. It was about the history of Melman Productions and this may have been when the character was first created, and not a Late Night creation.

March 21 2007 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget the Larry Bud. It was Larry Bud Melman.

March 21 2007 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He also was a spokesman for one of those collect calling services (1-800-collect or 1-800-call-att). Possibly the only one that wasn't hugely annoying (I'm looking at you, David Arquette).

He was awesome, though. Plenty of old people get used for "old people are funny" bits, but there was something about the guy that was really likable. I kind of gave up on watching Letterman regularly a while back, but I'll definitely try to cath the tribute.


March 21 2007 at 12:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Everyone remembers him as Larry "Bud" Melman, not Melman. You must be thinking of Newman.

March 21 2007 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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