Skip to comments.Letterman's Larry "Bud" Melman Dies
Posted on 03/21/2007 4:29:16 PM PDT by My Favorite Headache
Letterman Regular Larry 'Bud' Melman Dies By LARRY MCSHANE, AP
NEW YORK (March 21) - The balding, bespectacled nebbish who gained cult status as the oddball Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's late night television shows has died after a long illness. The Brooklyn-born Calvert DeForest, who was 85, died Monday at a hospital on Long Island, the Letterman show announced Wednesday.
He made dozens of appearances on Letterman's shows from 1982 through 2002, handling a variety of twisted duties: dueting with Sonny Bono on "I Got You, Babe," doing a Mary Tyler Moore impression during a visit to Minneapolis, handing out hot towels to arrivals at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
"Everyone always wondered if Calvert was an actor playing a character, but in reality he was just himself - a genuine, modest and nice man," Letterman said in a statement. "To our staff and to our viewers, he was a beloved and valued part of our show, and we will miss him."
The gnomish DeForest was the first face to greet viewers when Letterman's NBC show debuted on Feb. 1, 1982, offering a parody of the prologue to the Boris Karloff film "Frankenstein."
"It was the greatest thing that had happened in my life," he once said of his first Letterman appearance.
DeForest, given the nom de tube of Melman, became a program regular. The collaboration continued when the talk show host launched "Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS in 1994.
Cue cards were often DeForest's television kryptonite, and his character inevitably appeared in an ill-fitting black suit behind thick black-rimmed glasses.
The Melman character opened Letterman's first CBS show, too - but used his real name because of a dispute with NBC over "intellectual property." DeForest, positioned inside the network's familiar eye logo, announced, "This is CBS!"
DeForest often draw laughs by his bizarre juxtaposition as a "Late Show" correspondent at events such as the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway or the anniversary Woodstock concert that year.
His last appearance on "Late Show" came in 2002, celebrating his 81st birthday.
DeForest also appeared in an assortment of other television shows and films, including "Nothing Lasts Forever" with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd .
As per his request, there will be no funeral service for DeForest, who left no survivors. Donations can be made in his name to the Actors' Fund of America.
He was by far the best part of David Letterman when I watched it 20 years ago or so.
He muswt have been a really great actor, as I would feel sorry and embarrased for him as he would bumble through his skit. (Which of course, was the whole shtick!).
I'm sorry to hear this. This brings back memories of the era when David Letterman was still off-beat, sarcastic, non-formulamatic and funny, a show that gave me a lot of laughs and good times in college when he was still on, and still funny, after the Tonight Show on NBC. I miss when Letterman and his show were fun, and Larry Bud is a remnant of that era, rather than the bitter partisan Michael Moore suck-up he is now.
Larry bud was great at being, well, inept. All those interviews he'd do with people on the street where he'd pull the microphone away from him or the interviewee halfway through the question were great.
I'll have to go find my early Late Night anniversary special tapes some day.
Agreed. Letterman is completely unwatchable due to his partisan politics. He is snide and I would love to smack him. I smirk with glee knowing he never got Johnny's chair.
When those network heels at NBC would not let him use the Larry Bud Melman name because it was, "considered the intellectual property of NBC", as if anyone else could use it, it really pissed me off.
Damn. He was a funny guy.
R.I.P, Calvert. You made me laugh many times.
"I am the BIG man..."
Why no memorial? God rest his soul, and I hope the people pay due respect to him in private. Letterman owes him.
Letterman's show used to be hilarious a long time ago. I remember the skits with Chris Elliott (remember the panicky guy and the guy under the seats - were they same?), and Brother Theodore was funny too.
That was a very long time ago. I haven't watched that show in years.
That's a shame. I remember seeing him showing up at the end of the closing credits in the early days to announce "This has been a Melman production". Funny stuff.
LOL. I remember those interviews.
That's the one. I knew it was at either the bus or train station.
RIP, Calvert DeForest. Brought a lot of smiles to a lot of people.
What a funny guy.
That is so cool! I was wondering if there was a family connection. Lee DeForest's invention of the triode is important because the triode was the first type of tube that could actually amplify a signal. That changed radio from being a gadget of limited usefulness to being something practical.
I'm not sure if this is relevant, but Mr. DeForest, though credited with the invention of the vacuum tube, had no idea what to do with it. Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree, eh?
My thoughts exactly. I must have a "toast on a stick" in his honor.
20 years ago for me, too.
One of those people that you just look at and can't help but laugh.
I remember Toast on a Stick! LOL funny. Then there was the time he stood outside the Soviet embassy with a sign saying "C'mon and defect!" Priceless TV moments from a time when the Letterman show pretty much shunned politics and was cutting edge, truly off beat and funny TV. That ended around 1995 when I stopped watching the show. I still miss the old Dave.
If the old Soviet Union still existed I suppose Letterman wouldn't do this kind of skit now since it might offend his commie friends like Sen Clinton.
He didn't have no idea what to do with it, he just didn't appreciate the range of applications that it as suited to. That was left to pioneers like Pierce, Colpitts, and the immortal Armstrong.
He also didn't exactly understand how it worked; he thought that residual gases were necessary, probably a prejudice from the electrolytic arts. It took Langmuir and others to recognize that high vacuum was essential to the main types of vacuum tube.
I remember back in the 80's when Letterman was actually funny (and Mellman was on the show) there was a bar in Columbus, Ohio. It was an old fashioned watering hole. No tv's no radios just people drinking. And the name of the bar was Mellman's. They had nothing to do with Larry Mellman but I think he did make an appearance there once. He seemed like a great guy. May he rest in peace.
That reminds me of the days when the Lettermen show was one of the best things on TV.
Thanks so much for that YouTube link in #13... priceless! Those were the days... back when Letterman's show was actually funny.
Last time I watched it he had these women parade out in tutus with steel belts on which they buzzed metal grinders that threw off a lot of sparks. It was supposed to be funny. That was about 4 years ago.
Gone to join Brother Theodore.
Beau-T...is my bidness.
I been hypnotized!
And the velcro suit.
Would you know why it's impossible to see youtube anymore...I haven't been able to see anything on that site for months. I repeatedly have downloaded the flash player and get nothing. I'd really appreciate it if you or anyone might have any ideas on what I can do to make youtube work for me!
This guy was a hoot. RIP, Bud.
Seems to be the same thing everyone says on this thread, "when his show was funny." It's a shame. When Letterman became obsessed with mean-spirited hard-left politics, he ceased to be funny. He should've retired several years ago. I stopped watching him regularly in the late '90s.
I believe that he reprised that "hot towel" act at the top of the Empire State Building too. That was a funny one.
Get a Life with Chris Elliot?...Well There is a blast from the past!
Now I understand why I'm so surly and depressed, I'm still pissed off at the world for not "Getting It" in regards to that gem of a show.......
He lived in the neigborhood.
His show became formulaic and lately he's showing his politics on a regular basis. Some of it, like Great Moments in Presidential Speeches where he shows a Bush stumble or stutter, is just down right meanspirited. He'll do that four or five days in a row.
He never has been a great interviewer, like Paar or Carson and I think he could use the skill now.
Yep, Letterman WAS funny. I remember his daytime show in 1980. (I used to schedule my college classes around it.)
Thoroughly enjoyed his show through the 80's when Chris Elliott was the head writer, for the most part. Show tailed off in the 90's and was pretty much dead when it went to CBS. (Couric should've paid attention.)
RIP Calvert DeForest.
They still use those girls every now and then when Letterman does a "Will it Float" segment on his show.
Uninstall your flash players and then re-install all of them. This should do the trick. Also, installing the latest version of Quicktime should also do the trick. The flash players do get kinda goofy whenever they upgrade themselves to the point that things end up not working right unless you end up deleting them and them re-installing them again.
David Letterman is the Phil Connors of late night TV. Every show is the same.
Did anyone watch Letterman to see if they gave a tribute to Bud? I would hope so, but I do not watch it unless there is someone on that I really want to see. His guests even suck, but that is probably because Dave sucks doing interviews. I know that most of what you see dave doing, the interview, is all scripted, with leading questions and what-not, not off-the-cuff like you would like it to be.
I hope Dave did/does pay tribute.
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