Johnny Carson's favorite 'Tonight Show' comedian has died.
Friend and publicist Jeff Abraham announced the sad news on David Brenner's official website. He wrote, "Legendary stand-up comedian and long time 'Tonight Show' favorite, David Brenner, passed away at the age of 78 after a courageous battle with his final dragon, cancer. Brenner died peacefully at his home in NYC surrounded by his family at his side. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, his three sons, Cole, Wyatt, Slade and his grandson, Wesley.”
Abraham continued, "In David's final request he asked that one hundred dollars in small bills be placed in his left sock 'just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going.' His final resting spot will read: 'If this is supposed to be a joke - then I don't get it.'"
Brenner, son of a vaudeville singer and comedian, was born on Feb. 4, 1936 in Philadelphia. He was elected both class president and class comedian from grade school to high school. He studied at Temple University and graduated with honors in Mass Communications.
His debut national television appearance was on Carson's 'Tonight Show' on Jan. 8, 1971. Throughout the course of the show, he made a record-breaking 158 appearances. Known for his lanky features and his toothy grin, he was a pioneer in observational comedy.
Over the years, he made a plethora of appearances on talk shows such as ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ ‘Late Night with David Letterman,’ and ‘Howard Stern.’ He had four HBO specials, including his most recent 'David Brenner Back With A Vengeance.' His first book, ‘Soft Pretzels with Mustard,’ was a best-seller.
Not only was David a profound comedian, he was a writer and director of 115 television documentaries. He headed the distinguished documentary departments of both Westinghouse Broadcasting and Metromedia Broadcasting. His hard work earned him nearly 30 awards, including an Emmy.
When he was younger, he was asked about the trajectory of his career. He replied, "I want to make as many people laugh, as heartily as they can, for as long as I can."
Brenner has certainly achieved his goal, above and beyond.