David Letterman's Mother, Dorothy Mengering, Passes Away

by Mary Kate McGrath
Mike Coppola/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

David Letterman may have been the star of Late Show with David Letterman, but a special guest on the show was equally beloved. Letterman's mother, Dorothy Mengering, passed away on Tuesday, and will be remembered for her funny and heart-warming contributions to the late night television show. Over the talk show's two-decade long run, Mengering won over late night viewers, making surprise appearances from her Indiana kitchen, covering major sporting events, or just showing up on set to chat with her son.

Mengering was an unexpected star of the Late Show, and even though she only appeared occasionally, her segments were popular. She became well known in her own way, and even had her own-air moniker "Dave's Mom." It started as just the occasional on-air satellite phone call from her kitchen in Carmel, Indiana, where she would give an update on her cat, what she was making for dinner, or the weather, but she soon turned into a sensation. At one point in the show's history, Letterman made a point to call Mengering on-air every few months.

According to the Washington Post, Mengering passed away on Tuesday at home in Indiana. She was 95. Letterman's publicist, Tom Keaney, confirmed the passing to the Associated Press, and that the news came only a few days before Letterman's 70th birthday.

In addition to her comedic segments on the show, Mengering also became known for her Winter Olympic coverage. In 1994, Letterman sent his mother to the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where she interviewed Nancy Kerrigan and Hilary Clinton, who was the First Lady at the time. The Olympic coverage, with Mengering's positive attitude shining through all that winter-gear, made the country fall even further in love.

Mengering and Letterman had a great mother and son dynamic, on screen and off. Letterman cracked jokes and poked fun, and Mengering raised her earnest eyebrows and took none of it. She will be remembered for her contribution to the comedy world, but also for her loving, warm demeanor. Letterman was lucky to have Dave's Mom, and so were we.