David Letterman’s mother, Dorothy Mengering, dies at 95, publicist confirms

Photo courtesy of CBS

Dorothy Mengering has died at the age of 95. She’s the mother of late night TV legend David Letterman.

Letterman’s publicist Tom Keaney confirmed the news to CNN Tuesday night.

Dorothy often made guest appearances on The Late Show as “Dave’s Mom” or “Dave’s Mom Dorothy.”

Her death comes just one day before David Letterman’s 70th birthday.

The current host of the Late Show, Stephen Colbert, tweeted his condolences.

Mengering became an unlikely TV star thanks to appearances on her son’s show. She was an immediate hit, making frequent appearances and using her homespun Hoosier charm to great effect.

One segment became a Thanksgiving tradition. Mengering would make pies and Letterman would make a game out of guessing what type of pie she made.

She didn’t spend all of her time broadcasting from the kitchen, however. She served as a special correspondent for the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer Norway, often appearing in comically bulky winter gear that dwarfed her small frame.

Mengering attributed her popularity on the show to the “idea of mom and of family,” she told the New York Times in a 1996 interview.

Mengering, who grew up in Linton, lived her entire life in Indiana. She married Letterman’s father, Harry Letterman, in 1942. After he died in 1973, she later married structural engineer Hans P. Mengering, who passed away in 2013. She had three children: Jan, David and Gretchen.

Family was always at the center of her life, according to the IndyStar obituary written by her children:

Dorothy’s idea of a good time was being with her family, driving in the country or enjoying a meal together. Though she was an extraordinary cook, one of her favorite things to eat was the Greek pizza at Some Guys. Even in recent years, (grandchildren) Bryn and Bill often joined their grandmother in her kitchen to roll out homemade noodles and cook up applesauce.

In 1996, Mengering released a cookbook titled Home Cookin’ with Dave’s Mom. It featured recipes from the show, including those for the pies from the Thanksgiving segments. Proceeds from the sales of the book went to support the Kiwanis Club, of which Mengering and her husband were members.

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Information from the AP and CNN was used in this report