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Dorothy Mengering, David Letterman’s Mother, Dies at 95

Variety logo Variety 4/12/2017 Daniel Holloway
© Provided by Variety

Dorothy Mengering, mother to late-night host David Letterman, has died. She was 95.

Mengering was well-known to her son’s audience, part of the bullpen of recurring characters who appeared often on his NBC show “Late Night” and his CBS “Late Show.” A spokesperson for Letterman confirmed her passing Tuesday night.

Making her first appearance on “Late Night” in 1986, she made frequent return visits leading up to Thanksgivings and Mother’s Days. She appeared often via satellite from Letterman’s home state of Indiana. She was an excellent pie-maker. One of her most popular recurring bits with her son was “Guess Mom’s Pies.”

She also was a “Late Show” correspondent at three Winter Olympics in 1994, 1998, and 2002. In 1996, Mengering published a cookbook with writer Jess Cagle, “Home Cookin’ With Dave’s Mom.”

Born July 18, 1921 in Linton, Ind. as Dorothy Hofert, she married Harry Letterman, David’s father, in 1942. She married her second husband Hans Mengering in 1983, 10 years after Harry Letterman’s death. Hans Mengering died in March, 2013.

In an interview with the New York Times in 1996 to promote the cookbook, Mengering spoke about her son’s sense of humor — and her own.

“Well, his dad had a good sense of humor, but I think he may get it from my dad,” Mengering said. “He drove Mother crazy sometimes, cracking jokes. I guess I’m more like she was. I kind of take things more seriously, although I’m much more laid-back than I used to be. Finally, I’ve learned it doesn’t matter if the chores don’t get done. The important things get done eventually.”

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