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.
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