Calvert DeForest


NEW YORK (AP) - Calvert DeForest, the white-haired, bespectacled nebbish who gained cult status as the oddball Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's late night television shows, has died after a long illness.

The Brooklyn-born DeForest, who was 85, died Monday at a hospital on Long Island, Letterman's "Late Show" announced Wednesday.

He made dozens of appearances on Letterman's shows from 1982 through 2002, handling a variety of twisted duties: dueting with Sonny Bono on "I Got You, Babe," doing a Mary Tyler Moore impression during a visit to Minneapolis, handing out hot towels to arrivals at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

"Everyone always wondered if Calvert was an actor playing a character, but in reality he was just himself - a genuine, modest and nice man," Letterman said in a statement. "To our staff and to our viewers, he was a beloved and valued part of our show, and we will miss him."

The gnomish DeForest was the first face to greet viewers when Letterman's NBC show debuted on Feb. 1, 1982, offering a parody of the prologue to the Boris Karloff film "Frankenstein."

"It was the greatest thing that had happened in my life," he once said of his first Letterman appearance.

DeForest, given the nom de tube of Melman, became a program regular. The collaboration continued when the talk show host launched "Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS in 1993, though DeForest had to use his real name because of a dispute with NBC over "intellectual property."

Cue cards were often DeForest's television kryptonite, and his character inevitably appeared in an ill-fitting black suit behind thick black-rimmed glasses.

DeForest often drew laughs by his bizarre juxtaposition as a "Late Show" correspondent at events such as the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway or the anniversary Woodstock concert that year.

His last appearance on "Late Show," celebrating his 81st birthday, came in 2002.

DeForest also appeared in an assortment of other television shows and films, including "Nothing Lasts Forever" with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.

At his request, there will be no funeral service for DeForest, who left no survivors.
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press

Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

Recently "re-lived" the memories watching a compilation of "Kenny The Gardner" skits... I had forgotten how enjoyable and absolutely hilarious they are... "WHAT?" (BOYOYOYOYOing [spring coil sound])... By the end I was in tears I was laughing so hard... Thanks for bringing me so many "Plants & Good Cheer!" RIP, Mr. DeForest... You are VERY missed! Steve Russey

Thanks for all the great good natured memories...Wherever you are eating Toast on a Stick and Little Debbie snack cakes, I know your wearing you ill-fitted suit and black glasses,...not because you need them, but because they make you "Look good,......Damn good" peacefully

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.


For Calvert...the white-haired, bespectacled nebbish who gained cult status as the oddball Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's late night television shows.


Do not weep for me when I no longer dwell among the wonders of the earth; for my larger self is free, and my soul rejoices on the other side of pain...on the other side of darkness.

Do not weep for me, for I am a ray of sunshine that touches your skin, a tropical breeze...

Dear Fans of Calvert DeForest,
I am sorry for your loss of a legend. God bless his soul. He does not have anybody. God bless him and his fans and friends. Best wishes

Warm, sweet, talented, and very funny. Calvert added a lot to the Letterman shows. I always enjoyed "Ask Mr Melman"...

Calvert, you had a great run. Thanks for everything you shared.

I laughed many good nights at your wonderful contributions to Dave's show. May you rest in peace. You brought joy to us all.

Larry "Bud" you were one of the highlights I watched Lettermen for. You will be sorely missed.