David Letterman’s mom, who became unlikely star, dies at 95

David Letterman's mom, who became unlikely star, dies at 95

NEW YORK — David Letterman’s mother Dorothy Mengering, a Midwestern homemaker who became an unlikely celebrity in her 70s as she baked mystery pies and covered the Olympics for her son’s late-night show, has died. She was 95.

Letterman’s publicist Tom Keaney confirmed Mengering’s death Tuesday for The Associated Press.

Letterman had been on the air for years, and had made ironic celebrities out of dozens of nobodies, before he thought to bring on his mom.

But the moment he did, she became a hit, with a cheerful “Hi, David!” in her Indiana accent starting every appearance.

The two had great on-air chemistry, her homespun sincerity proving the perfect foil for her son’s urban acerbity.

Her first appearances came via satellite from her Carmel, Indiana, kitchen for a segment called “Guess Mom’s Pies,” which became a Thanksgiving tradition. Letterman would make a huge production of the bit before finally declaring, usually correctly, “chocolate chiffon!” or “rhubarb!” When he was wrong, she would take on a comforting tone like he was a boy who had lost a little-league game.

She soon started making annual Mother’s Day appearances too.

She really became a star when the show took her out of the kitchen.

Mengering was a correspondent for the Letterman’s Late Show on CBS at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway, a role she reprised for the next two winter games, wearing bulky snow gear that made her tiny self almost invisible, and oozing pure sincerity even in absurd bits Letterman’s writers had her perform.

“After Lillehammer, I couldn’t believe how it all took off,” Mengering told The New York Times in 1996. “I think it’s about the idea of mom and of a family.”

Mengering lived all her life in Indiana. She married Letterman’s father, a florist named Harry Letterman, in 1942. He died in 1973, and she married structural engineer Hans P. Mengering, who died in 2013.

Once famous, she put out a cookbook, 1996’s “Home Cookin’ With Dave’s Mom,” that included recipes such as “Dave’s Fried Baloney Sandwich” and the secrets behind many of the pies she had baked for the show.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Hwy. 97 reopened after Trout Creek collision

No details on injuries or cause yet

Souper Sunday raises Soupateria profile

The competition pits local chefs against each other to make soup for the those in need.

Supporting survivors of breast cancer

Survivorship shows there is life beyond cancer

Foreigner feeling like the first time after 40

Foreigner doesn’t miss a beat after 40 years

Octoberfest is the toast of the town

Eighth annual night of fun, music and brews

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Reel Reviews: Nothing left to lose

We say, “Grieving Quan kicks butt”

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read