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March 22, 2007

Larry "Bud" Melman, aka Calvert DeForest, RIP

Genghis tipped me to this a while ago. I didn't want to step on the sad news about Cathy Seipp, so I waited. LBM, RIP:

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 working as a file clerk at a drug rehabilitation center when show producers, who had seen him in a New York University student's film, came calling. His 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.

Here's Calvert -- then known by his character name of Larry "Bud" Melman (NBC's forbiddding of Letterman to use any of his NBC "intellectual property" required calling DeForest by his real name when the show moved to CBS) -- introducing the very first late-night David Letterman show, doing that Karloff take-off mentioned above.

(Letterman had already had the short lived morning show, and Larry "Bud" Melman was used on that a lot. So this isn't his first actual appearance on any Letterman show.)

It's like time travelling, man.



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posted by Ace at 01:39 AM

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