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David Letterman Was A Weatherman Before Late Night And Other Facts

He was a weatherman, sports reporter, game show host, and just overall awesome dude.

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David Letterman steps down from his 33-year reign as the King of Late Night tonight. But how did he get there?

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Letterman started his storied career as a radio DJ for Ball State University’s WBST. In 1966, he was part of a new team announcing election returns, but he was later fired for his “irreverent treatment of classical music.”


After graduation, he moved to radio at WNTS and finally to TV on WLWI (now called WTHR) as an anchor and weatherman. Letterman still found ways to make jokes.

WTHR / Via
WTHR / Via
WTHR / Via

Soon after, Letterman began hosting an exciting Saturday morning talk show called Clover Power, where he interviewed 4-H members.

WTHR / Via

He even tried his hand at field reporting at the 1968 Indy 500, asking painfully obvious questions to Mario Andretti.

ESPN / Via

In 1975, Letterman moved to L.A. and started performing regularly at The Comedy Store. In this interview from the archives, Letterman is predictably self-deprecating about his work ethic.

The Comedy Store / Via

In 1977, Letterman hosted a pilot of the game show called The Riddlers. It never got picked up.

The Riddlers / Via

Their loss.

The Riddlers / Via
The Riddlers / Via

By then, other comedians were taking notice. In January 1978, Letterman was cast in a comedy special spoof of news magazine programs. The show, Peeping Times, was written by Rudy De Luca and Barry Levinson, and co-executive produced by David Frost.

View this video on YouTube / Via

As a comic, Letterman became a regular on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson starting in 1978.

NBC / Via

Finally, in 1980, Letterman got his own talk the morning.

View this video on YouTube / Via

Despite winning two Emmy Awards, the show was canceled after five months due to low ratings.

AP Photo/Ron Frehm

Thankfully, in 1982 all of Letterman's hard work paid off: He got his own late-night program on NBC. He's been slaying ever since.

Nancy Kaye / AP

We'll miss you, Dave.

Susan Wood / Getty Images

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