Monday, April 15, 2024

David Letterman Retirement: We May Never See Him Again (We Didn’t See Him Before)


I’ve covered entertainment in New York for about 30 years, give or take. In all that time I have never seen David Letterman outside of his studio. No one else has, either. Now that he’s off of TV, we may never see him again.

Check the photo agency websites: nothing. There are a couple of photos from Letterman from the Kennedy Center Honors, last December. There is exactly one picture of his wife, Regina, on Wire Image. And that’s from this last week. When Letterman appeared last winter at a fundraiser for Paul Newman’s SeriousFun camp, it was out of respect for the late actor. He was home before the event was over.

A great photographer who shoots all the big parties, premieres, etc and has for two decades, told me yesterday he’d never actually seen Letterman in person.

There was once a feeling that Letterman maybe dined in Connecticut with actor Charles Grodin and Regis Philbin. Grodin wasn’t invited to the final weeks of the show. Regis did appear, and Letterman is clearly fond of him. But they don’t socialize.

All that fawning a few nights ago with Julia Roberts is make believe. The “relationship” exists only in the studio, at the desk.

If you watched Dave thanking the celebrities last night who did the Top 10 list, listen carefully: he speaks to them as if they are strangers. He doesn’t know them. They don’t know him. He and Tina Fey short of shake hands.

The relationship with Paul Shaffer– it’s business. It’s worked, don’t get me wrong. But Dave is not coming over for Friday night dinner.

Dave gave a beautiful speech last night. But he didn’t mention the producers who got him there– Bob Morton and Rob Burnett. He didn’t acknowledge Mike Ovitz, who got him $14 million when he jumped from NBC to CBS, or his manager Jack Rollins (just turned 100) or Rollins’ late partner Charles Joffe.

Oh well, why quibble? But Letterman sightings? Don’t hold your breath. Like Greta Garbo, he wants to be alone.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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