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David Letterman’s House Painter Plotted to Kidnap His Only Son Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP
Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

David Letterman is probably one of the most well-known American television hosts, comedians, writers, and producers in the United States. He held his late-night television talk shows for more than 33 years beginning in 1982 with the Late Night with David Letterman in New York City on NBC. He ended his talk show days with The Late Show With David Letterman on CBS on May 20, 2015. Letterman hosted 6,080 episodes of the Late-Night and Late Show, surpassing his longtime friend and mentor Johnny Carson (The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson) as the longest-serving late-night talk show host in U.S. television history.

In 1996, Letterman was ranked 45th on the TV Guide 50 greatest TV stars of all time. In 2002, The Late Show with David Letterman was ranked 7th on the TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. Several late-night hosts have cited Letterman as an influence including Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, John Oliver, and Seth Meyers.

Although we know him pretty well for his amazing shows and monologues, we don’t know a lot about his private life. Which, if you ask me, is pretty bizarre and cool at the same time.

Who is David Letterman’s Wife?

The Primetime Emmy Award winner married his college sweetheart, Michelle cook, in 1968 in Muncie, Indiana. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in divorce in October 1977. He later began dating his former head writer and producer on Late Night, Merrill Markoe, from 1978 to 1988. Markoe was behind several Late-Night segments, such as “Stupid Pet/Human Tricks,” and also his writing partner. In 1986, the night TV host began to date now wife Regina Lasko while still living with Markoe.

Lasko then welcomed their son, Harry Letterman, in 2003. The couple married on March 19, 2009, during the courthouse civil ceremony in Choteau Montana. Letterman had announced the marriage during a taping of a show that took place on March 23rd after congratulating actor Bruce Willis for his marriage the week before. Lasko is known for managing several shows including Saturday Night Live, Another World, and Late Night with David Letterman. Although their relationship has made the news multiple times with allegations of Letterman cheating, they seem to be doing well.

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Harry Joseph Letterman

Harry Letterman, now 16, was born on November 3, 2003. According to Letterman, the best part about retiring was getting to spend more time with his son, saying the relationship meant the world to him. Speaking with Sunday Today’s Willie Geist, the comedian noted, “People always say, ‘Well you’re not going to be the kid’s best friend. You’re going to be his …’ And I say, ‘Screw that! Look at me. How much longer am I going to be around? I want to be the best friend.”

Here comes the interesting part. Did you know that David Letterman’s son Harry Joseph was almost kidnapped when he was 16-months-old? Yes, back in 2005 a plot to kidnap Harry was discovered after a man requested $5 million as ransom money. Luckily authorities found the person responsible for the plot, finding it was a man identified as Kelly Frank, who was 43 at the time. Frank was said to be working as a painter on David Letterman’s Montana Ranch and was reportedly plotting the abduction with the baby’s nanny. YIKES.

According to authorities, Frank told a man about the plot to kidnap the boy, but the person didn’t quite like the idea of kidnapping a baby and then reported the information to the Teton County Sheriff’s office. Kelly quickly received a 10-year sentence pleading guilty to theft for overcharging Letterman for painting. He also pleaded guilty to obstruction for lying to investigators and to an unrelated poaching charge. Prosecutors drop the kidnap-related charge.

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In 2007 he escaped prison and was recaptured and given an additional 10-year sentence. He was released in 2014 but was re-arrested in 2015 for violating the terms of his parole. Ultimately, he was released in November of 2018. The more you know.

Letterman Now

Despite the scary kidnapping situation, Letterman seems to be doing just fine after retiring and taking some good time off. After retirement, the final episode of Late Show with David Letterman, which was taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in NYC, was watched by 13.76 million viewers in the United States, earning the show the highest rating since the following 1994 Winter Olympics. It was the show’s highest number since Oprah Winfrey’s first Late Show appearance. Letterman decided the close cycle by having Bill Murray, who had been his first guest on The Late Night, be his final guest on The Late Show. Despite the retirement that didn’t stop the comedian from changing the world one day at a time.

In 2016 he joined the climate change documentary show Years of Living Dangerously as one of the show celebrity correspondence. In the second season, he traveled to India to investigate the country’s efforts to expand its adequate energy grid, to boost its economy, and bring electricity to nearly 300 million citizens at a time. In 2017 the former late-night host gave the induction speech for Pearl Jam into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at a ceremony which was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He also co-hosted The Essentials on Turner Classic Movies with Alec Baldwin. That same year he was named the next recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which was an award granted every year by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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In 2018 he began hosting the six-episode monthly series of a Netflix show consisting of long-form of interviews and field segments. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction premiered in 2018 which featured Barack Obama as his first guest. The second season premiered on May 31, 2019. He recently went on a talk show with Sirius/XM’s Howard Stern where he discusses what it’s like to be quarantined with a 16-year-old son, saying he was pretty much-enjoying life as much as he could, despite the times we live in now.

Watch: Remember When Drew Barrymore Flashed David Letterman on Live TV?

Silke  Jasso About the author:
Silke Jasso is a bilingual editor, writer, producer, and journalist specialized in online media. Born in Laredo Texas, her previous works include LareDOS Newspaper where she was an editor and writer and Entravision Communications where she was a Co-Anchor and Multi-Media Journalist for Fox39 News and Univision 27.
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