David Letterman is hardly recognizable these days: almost a year to the day after leaving The Late Show after three decades as a late-night talk show host, the 68-year-old was seen in the Caribbean with a nearly bald head and a fully-grown, bushy white beard.
David Letterman accidentally killed Santa and is now slowly morphing into him like Tim Allen in The Santa Clause pic.twitter.com/Nbn0ENfZDy
— Freddie Campion (@FreddieCampion) March 23, 2016
As MSN reports, Letterman, who owns property on the tony Caribbean island of Saint Barts, was spotted by paparazzi this week jogging near the beach in yellow swim trunks and a shirt from his old alma mater, Indiana’s Ball State University.
Letterman’s beard is not new — he’s been spotted here and there with the bushy facial hair since retiring, including during a stop at Ball State, according to Fox News — but the shaved head is.
— TV Guide (@TVGuide) March 23, 2016
Never one to apologize for being who he is, Letterman talked about the beard back in December, 2015, in an interview published in The Whitefish Review. In the interview, Letterman said that his beard has few fans — even within his family — but after decades of looking dapper for the camera, he doesn’t care any more.
“You know what? I used to say, every day, ‘I am so sick and tired of shaving.’ I had to shave every day, every day, for 33 years. And even before that when I was working on local TV. And I just thought, the first thing I will do when I am not on TV is stop shaving. And everybody hates it. My wife hates it. My son hates it. But it’s interesting. I’ve kind of developed a real creepy look with it that I’m sort of enjoying. And I can tell that people are off-put by it. And the more people implore me to shave, the stronger my resolve is to not shave. So the day that I shave, I’ll call you.”
Born in 1947 in Indianapolis, according to Biography, David Letterman got his start in local talk radio and, later, local TV. Even early in his career, Letterman’s offbeat and unapologetic style got him to trouble with his bosses: during one job as a TV weather man, Letterman upset his bosses by congratulating a tropical storm being upgraded to a hurricane.
Letterman got his big break in the late 1970s, when he began appearing on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson. In an interview with Jane Pauley, shortly before retiring from The Late Show, Letterman described the magnitude of working with his mentor.
“It’s like you’re sitting on the knee of the Lincoln Memorial and Lincoln is talking to you. You know, it’s like, ‘Holy God, it’s the guy on the $5 bill talking to me.’ “
At one point, Letterman was thought to be the successor to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, but unfortunately for David, the job instead went to Jay Leno. However, CBS, seeing a golden opportunity, gave Letterman his own show. The rest, as they say, is history.
After 33 years behind the late night talk show desk — first on NBC, later on CBS — Letterman decided to call it quits in 2015. The coveted spot behind the desk of The Late Show was given to Stephen Colbert — a transition that Letterman thought would bother him, but that he later said he supported.
“I can remember the first day that Stephen Colbert took over – put his new show on the air. I thought I would have some trouble, some emotional trouble, or some feeling of displacement, but I realized, hey, that’s not my problem anymore. And I have felt much better.”
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[Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images]