David Brenner died today at the age of 78 from cancer at his New York home.
David Brenner was born in 1936 and raised in poor areas of Philadelphia. At
Before getting into comedy, Brenner helped write, produce and direct 115 TV documentaries, earning him nearly 30 awards.
After making his national television debut, on the The Tonight Show, he became the show's most frequent guest, with 158 appearances. He guest-hosted for Johnny Carson 75 times between 1975 and 1984, putting him fifth on the list of most frequent guest hosts for Carson. Brenner was ranked No. 53 on Comedy Central Presents: 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time." At one point, he had appeared more often on major TV talk shows than any other entertainer. He also wrote five books his latest published in 2003, I Think There's a Terrorist in My Soup.
Brenner released at least one comedy record album, Pardon Me, Are You Reading That Newspaper? on MCA Records in 1980. (The title arose from a gag wherein a fellow passenger on a conveyence asked Brenner if he was reading a newspaper on which he was sitting. The punch line was Brenner saying he was, standing up, turning a page, and sitting down again.)
Brenner was the star of the 1976 TV series Snip, which was cancelled before it aired in the U.S. He also played a charity ball auctioneer in the 1989 romantic comedy Worth Winning (with Mark Harmon, Madeleine Stowe, and Lesley Ann Warren, who was also Brenner's co-star on Snip).
The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia named Brenner their Person of the Year in 1984 and inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2003.
Brenner had three children: Slade, Wyatt and Cole. He and the mother of his first son, Cole, fought a custody battle lasting several years. Brenner finally won custody in 1992. Brenner married Elizabeth Slater of New York, the mother of his sons Slade and Wyatt, in the closing minutes of his Live from The Venetian Hotel
Even in death, he kept the jokes coming. Brenner's final request, according to family spokesman Jeff Abraham, was to have $100 in small bills tucked in his sock -- "just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going."
Good Night Mr. Brenner