Goodbye, David Letterman: An Oral History

Jane Pauley, Reggie Miller, Joyce DeWitt, Rupert Boneham, and other Hoosiers share their best Letterman memories.

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On May 20, Indy’s favorite son, David Letterman, throws his last notecard on the Late Show. We gathered dozens of local acquaintances–famous and not–for a sendoff.

 

Childhood

At IPS School 55 and Broad Ripple High School, Letterman seemed to be a fairly average—albeit mischievous—kid. But those who knew him closely remember an unusual sense of humor that was already starting to show.

 

Bill Sellery
Classmate at IPS School 55 and Broad Ripple High School

“It was a very Leave It To Beaver childhood. We played basketball in my backyard, we built tree houses, we rode our bikes, we had paper routes. But Dave’s creativity was apparent even then.”

 

Fred Stark  
Classmate at IPS School 55 and Broad Ripple High School

“He would grab three or four other boys in the parking lot at recess, and he’d give us a script with a part to do. I remember really early on, in second or third grade, he had us do a parody of Winnie the Pooh. He had a way of making us do it, and when we did, he would just laugh at us. He was making himself laugh. That’s kind of the way he still is. He uses other people as a vehicle for his humor.”

 

In an ad for Atlas Supermarket, Letterman and a friend hammed it up for the camera.
In an ad for Atlas Supermarket, Letterman and a friend hammed it up for the camera.

Jeff Eshowsky  
Classmate at IPS School 55 and Broad Ripple High School

“During grade school, Dave and I lived close enough to eat lunch at home. Mrs. Letterman would make us these fried-bologna sandwiches. She used to buy long rolls of bologna at Atlas Supermarket. Once we were old enough to work there, we walked the six blocks to the store and asked owner Sid Maurer for a job. He said, ‘If you’re going to work for me, you’re going to wear white shirts and ties.’ So we went home, put on white shirts and ties, and came back. He hired us for 85 cents an hour. We were grunts.”

 

Susan Frakes Logsdon
Girlfriend at IPS School 55 and Broad Ripple High School

“We spent a lot of time at the Riviera Club. Kids would go to dances there once a month, and because David’s father was a florist, I always had the prettiest corsage. I remember we took a picture onstage at one dance. He was wearing Bermuda shorts. That was just who he was—always doing something different. I remember suggesting he become a comedian, never really thinking that he would fall into that.”

 

freshman-basketball-clipping
At Broad Ripple High School, he played on the freshman basketball team.

Deborah Paul
Classmate at Broad Ripple High School and editor emerita of Indianapolis Monthly

“In high school, we were in a play together about a football team. I played a cheerleader, and he played a guy in the stands who wore a raccoon coat and waved a pennant. He didn’t particularly distinguish himself in that as somebody who would be as famous as he turned out to be. But driving home from rehearsal one night, there wasn’t enough room in the car, so I had to sit on his lap. I can only tell you that if I had known then what I know now, that would have been a bigger deal than what it was at the time.”

 

Fred Stark

“Once, we were going to take these girls to the movies. We wanted to wash his dad’s car, because that’s what we planned to drive downtown. Dave said, ‘Somebody told me if you wash your car in kerosene, it really shines.’ So we got a thing of kerosene and wiped the car down with it. When we picked up the girls, it smelled really bad. We couldn’t get the kerosene off of it. The girls were not impressed. They asked us, ‘Is this car going to blow up?’ I’m sure his dad was furious, but he was very slick about not getting into trouble.”

 

Rick Posson
Classmate at Broad Ripple and, later, boss at WLWI (now WTHR)

“It was senior-year speech class, and you had to give a three-minute speech on whatever you wanted to talk about. All your notes were supposed to be on 3×5 cards. Typically, the teacher would go alphabetically through the class, so they weren’t going to get to Dave that day. Well, she changed it up and called him. He hadn’t prepared anything. He said, ‘I didn’t expect to be on today, and my stuff is in the locker. Can I get it?’ She wrote him a hall pass, and he raced off to the bookstore, bought a pack of 3×5 cards, then came back to class. He pretended to read off those blank cards and did three minutes on juggling. He got an A, and it pissed everyone off, because they knew he hadn’t prepared anything. It was all off the top of his head.”

 

Jeff Eshowsky

“We don’t have a lot of contact these days, but when we talk, it’s like picking up where we left off. We still have a lot of things in common. When I had my first heart attack, I had a bypass. He called and wanted to know what symptoms I had, what my prognosis was going to be, could I go back to work soon, that type of thing. I told him he was asking some pretty pointed questions, and asked if he was having any heart issues. He didn’t really say yes or no, but you could read between the lines. He didn’t have an actual heart attack, but his doctors discovered some problems, and that’s when he had his bypass. I kid him and say, ‘It comes from the neighborhood and those old fried-bologna sandwiches your mother used to make for us.’ ”


 College

Letterman hoped to go to Indiana University, but the school threatened academic probation, so he matriculated at Ball State in 1965. The lanky 18-year-old with a razor wit quickly made a name for himself in Radio & Television classes and in comedy groups, as these college friends can tell you.

 

Ron Pearson
Retired owner of the Pearson Group ad firm

“I was in Wagner Hall, and Dave was next door in Elliott Hall. I had an afternoon shift at a small radio station there, and a girl I knew told me, ‘My boyfriend is funnier than you are.’ Well, her boyfriend’s name was Dave Letterman. And when he came over to the station and started doing shifts, it turned out he was indeed funnier than I was. Our friendship grew, and eventually we started a comedy group called The Dirty Laundry Company. Apparently Dave had a thing for clothing, because, of course, his company Worldwide Pants came later. Anyway, Dave knew a girl in the theater department named Joyce DeWitt and thought she was pretty good. So he recruited her.”

 

Joyce DeWitt
Former star of Three’s Company

“Dave did all the writing, and he had that same creative genius he has now when we were young. He was almost like the daddy of the group in that he kept an eye on everything—the punchlines, the stage positions, the last-minute changes. He would babysit every detail. The Dating Game was popular at the time, so we performed a risque version called The Dating Shame in the large theater at Ball State for the Homecoming Variety Show. I don’t know how many thousand people fit in that audience, but there were a lot. Dave was very contained. If he was nervous, you couldn’t tell.”

 

Ron Pearson

“He wasn’t onstage much in the early days. I don’t know why. Maybe he didn’t know he had that in him. He really surprised us one day at a bank in Marion. We were going to perform at their company Christmas party, and before we started, Dave stepped up and delivered an impromptu monologue. It was a riot. There and then, the Dave Letterman monologue was born.”

 

Jim Davis
Cartoonist who created Garfield

“I fancied myself a funny guy—I liked to do standup at fraternity parties. But people would say, ‘Jim, that’s kinda funny, but you should see Dave over at the Sigma Chi house.’ So one night, I slipped into the back of a show there. Bear in mind this was the 1960s. Comedy was a lot of one-liners. Picture Rodney Dangerfield. Dave stood at the front for quite awhile and didn’t say anything. People started to giggle, but I wasn’t getting it. Finally he raises his hand and says, ‘Be honest, who’s having the time of their life?’ Now everyone was laughing, and I’m starting to giggle myself. And he continues, ‘Oh boy, I know I am.’ Then it hit me—it’s not about the jokes. He was inventing a new kind of comedy. It was about acknowledging absurdity and making it up as he went.”

 

Letterman with his Sigma Chi brothers.
Letterman with his Sigma Chi brothers.

Photo courtesy Al Rent

Tom Corbett
Co-founder of the nonprofit Media Preservation Foundation

“We were in a lot of Radio and Television classes together, and he would usually sit in the back with his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers. Dave always had two or three brothers following him around. So he had a kind of entourage even then. But he was usually one of the brightest students in the class. I think he likes to portray himself as a C student because he knows it’s funny.”

 

Myra Borshoff
Founder of the Borshoff advertising and public-relations firm

“Fifty years ago this fall, Dave and I were in freshman speech class together. When he gave his first speech, he dragged a chair to the front of the class and pulled his pant leg up to reveal these long tube socks. And he did an entire speech about socks. As you can imagine, it was very funny. Anyway, Dave set me up with one of his friends once, and we were going to double date. We all met at the dorm of Dave’s girlfriend, Michelle Cook [whom he would marry a few years later, then divorce]. She was still working there for another hour, so we had some time to kill in this high-rise dorm with a lounge on the seventh floor. And Dave said, ‘I have an idea. Let’s see how much furniture we can sneak out of the lounge, into the elevators, and down to the lobby without anyone noticing.’ So the three of us started doing that, and we got a few chairs and an end table down there before someone caught on. Who would think of doing something like that?”

 

Andy Rent
DJ at WGRD in Grand Rapids, Michigan

“We all worked together at the college radio station, WBST. Back then, college radio was so serious. Dave was not that. He wanted to do his own thing from the beginning. They made him host a classical-music show, which was not interesting to him at all. So when he would introduce Debussy’s Clair de Lune, he’d say, ‘Here’s a great song that I think you’ll really enjoy called Claire and All Her Little Loons.”

 

Letterman was once a member of the honor society Tau Kappa Alpha.
Letterman was once a member of the honor society Tau Kappa Alpha.

Photo courtesy Al Rent

Al Rent
Director of relationship marketing and community relations at Ball State

“At WBST, Dave wanted to play rock and roll. I said, ‘Dave, we can’t play rock and roll. This is a classical-music and news station.’ He suggested that we play it late in the evening. So one night at midnight, we started what became known as Dave Letterman’s Make It or Break It. Hours after we had signed off, we threw the switch to the transmitter and signed the station back on. He played the worst rock-and-roll song he could find—probably the B-side to a one-hit wonder. Then he would have people call in and vote either to make it [save the record] or break it [literally smash it on air]. For a tiny station that barely broadcasted across the street, we had a lot of calls. The third night, he played a song that everybody voted to save. I don’t remember what it was. But Dave said, ‘Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m., I will personally present this record to the first person through the door of the station.’ The next morning, 30 or 40 students had lined up at the door of the station to try to get that record and meet Dave.”

 

Phil Briggs
Retired salesman

“Dave is one of the most creative nonconformists I have ever met. On election night in 1966, the staff at WBST was covering the Delaware County results. And I have a wonderful picture of the seven of us that night. Six are your basic starched-shirt Midwestern college students. And then there’s Dave in the front row with a lumberjack beard and the most mischievous grin. The following year, a group of us took a train trip to New York to see The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The interesting thing about Dave is that he fixates on strange, inconsequential things. He already had been using the town of Altoona, Pennsylvania, in some of his comedy routines. He just thought it sounded funny. So on this trip, he woke everyone up at 2 a.m. and shuttled us to the back part of the train car so we could see Altoona as we rolled through.”

 

Joyce DeWitt

“Once we left college, we went our own ways. But years later, I was shooting Three’s Company at CBS’s Television City in Los Angeles. One day I was waiting for the elevator, and there was Dave! He was performing in a variety show that Mary Tyler Moore had assembled. We had a chance to catch up quickly, both of us wondering how this had happened to us. Two old Ball State college friends on their way to work in national television.”


Local Media

After graduating from college in 1970, Letterman moved back to Indianapolis and took any radio or television gig he could get. Friends and colleagues from those days recall an unconventional guy trying to make it in a very conventional market.

Photo courtesy WTHR

 

 

Tom Corbett

“Dave, Mike Kirby, and I formed a little broadcast production company that did a lot of jingles and commercials. Back then, radio stations used little comedy vignettes that they would purchase from syndicators. So Dave wrote a series of 65 stories called The Adventures of Captain Clifford Swish and Wongo the Norwegian Scab Camel. It was bizarre. Each episode was about 60 seconds long, and it would start with, ‘As you remember from last time, boys and girls …’ Then it would recap something, and finish with ‘Be with us again next time, when …’ So it never actually got to the episode. And there was always some strange commercial pitch at the end, like ‘By the way, have you ordered your magic Wongo eight-pound bag of wet wolverine hair and fondueing instructions? Why not do it today?’ It was a little ahead of its time. Needless to say, we had trouble selling it.”

 

Ron Pearson

“He started doing weekend weather on Channel 13, and he just couldn’t do it straight. It was that impishness in him. He’d have the high temperatures up on screen, and he’d say, ‘56 in Muncie, 52 in Anderson. Always a close game.’ And the now-classic ‘hail the size of canned hams.’ Back then, Channel 13 had the lowest-rated news, so they were willing to take chances. He was also the voiceover guy, and while recording the station identification, he said this is the ‘Avco Broadchasing Castration’ as opposed to the ‘Avco Broadcasting Corporation.’ I’m sure that was no accident.”

 

Letterman delivers the wacky weather report on WLWI.
Letterman delivers the wacky weather report on WLWI.

Photo courtesy WTHR

Jack O’Hara
Former host of Freeze Dried Movies on WLWI (later WTHR)

“I was hosting this late-night movie show, and Dave took over for me the week I was on vacation. At that point, we already were showing very bad films. Dave figured out how to superimpose himself into the movies. Once, in this awful Austrian spaghetti Western, he re-tracked the audio with a recording of him and his friends playing a ukulele and singing, ‘Trinidad, Trinidad, the rum is good but the water is bad.’ They were substituting mad Caribbean music for a scene shot in a Western saloon.”

 

Jeff Smulyan
Former manager of WNTS and owner of Emmis Communications

“It was the first station I ever ran. I had seen David’s work and thought he was incredibly talented. We thought it would be fun to try him on a talk show. I can’t say it was perfect, but he was very funny. One day, somebody called and said, ‘Your midday guy is a Communist.’ I said, ‘What?’ Apparently some guy Dave was talking to on the radio claimed that Carmel was full of Communists, and Dave said, ‘Hey, give the Communists Carmel. The schools are overcrowded and you can never find a parking space. Let’s hold the line at Nora.’”

 

Tom Cochrun
Former reporter at WTHR and news director at WISH
“At WNTS, he announced that the island of Guam had purchased the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. He said they were going to dye it green, turn it into a giant asparagus, and move it. That piece got a lot of calls. People didn’t know he was joking.”

 

Jane Pauley
Former correspondent at WISH and co-host of NBC’s Today

“When I started my broadcast career, he had a talk show on the radio. There was a woman named Claudia on his radio station who had her own program and the same last name as mine. It was spelled slightly differently. She was African American, a trained opera singer, and we had very little in common. But Dave decided to address us routinely as if we were twin sisters. Why he found this amusing, I don’t know. You had to be a local media person to be in on the gag. It amused Dave, and that was enough. If he was amused, we were amused.”

 

Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds
Musician with 11 Grammys

“One of Dave’s early shows on Channel 13 was Clover Power. He had local acts that would sometimes perform. Our band name was L.C. Soul Unlimited. I was 13 years old, and we went on and played the Jackson Five song ‘The Love You Save.’ So we met him there, and he introduced us. Back then, there were all these local shows—4-H Club and programs that dealt with farms. Sometimes people would bring their pigs on. It was kind of country, but it was great.”

 

Tom Cochrun

“Once at my apartment, David and I were watching The Tonight Show, and Johnny Carson was doing The Great Carnac. Ed McMahon would read the answer, and Johnny would come up with the question, or vice versa. So McMahon was doing the setup line, and before Johnny said anything, David would come out with his own version of the answer. I thought David’s answers were often funnier than Johnny’s. A light switch went on in my head. I thought, ‘This guy is as good as the writers in Hollywood.’ Not long after that, David and Michelle and my wife and I had a picnic. It was the day before they left for California, and their truck was loaded. They had saved some money, and had a plan that they could go so many weeks without income. Of course, it’s all history because he made the right contacts, got in the right circuit. He was excited about going out and giving it a try, but David was always a guy who was very self-examining, very cautious. We assured him, ‘No, it’s going to work. You’re going to be great.’ ”

 

Jane Pauley

“When I was hosting Today in the early ’80s, Dave and I were invited back to Indianapolis. William Hudnut was the mayor. At an event, Hudnut introduced us jointly to a group of kids. And it was there that I first heard Dave talk about the imposter syndrome. He was talking about his relationship to his own success, because by this time, he was a star. He told the kids: ‘It’s like robbing 7-Eleven. The money’s good, but you know you’re going to get caught.’ Did he ever get over that impostor syndrome? Did he ever wake up and think I’m Dave Letterman. I’m pretty good? Or did he go his entire career and think I got away with it last week and last year, but I’m probably going to get caught tomorrow?


National Television

Once Letterman moved to Los Angeles to do standup, it wasn’t long before he was filling in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. NBC gave him his own program in 1982 (Late Night with David Letterman), and CBS stole him in 1993 to host the Late Show. On both, Dave frequently hosted Hoosiers. Here, a few of the bold-faced names share their stories.

A ‘Late Show’ regular, John Mellencamp chats with Letterman about ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County’ in 2013.

Photo by John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images

 

 

Kenny Aronoff
Drummer for Elton John and others

“I was filling in for Dave’s drummer Anton Fig for the first time, and I had to fly in from Japan, so I was a nervous wreck. We were doing Stupid Human Tricks, and they brought out a guy who said he wanted to do a handstand, and Dave needed to attach a yo-yo to his toe. Dave goes, ‘Oh, no. I don’t do stuff like that. Anton does. Oh, Kenny, come on up here.’ The guy goes up, and his feet are wobbling all over the place. Dave said, ‘Come on, get that yo-yo on, Kenny.’ I was trying, but his foot wouldn’t stay still! Finally, Dave said, ‘Just go back and give me a snare-drum roll.’ So I went back and gave him my best snare roll, which just added nervousness to nervousness.”

 

Rupert Boneham
Four-time Survivor contestant

“In 2003, when you got voted off Survivor, the next day you were expected on the Late Show. When I got voted off, I went on to play Survivor: All-Stars. Dave didn’t understand that I couldn’t be on the show right away. He pulled one of the stagehands on camera and called him Rupert to make fun of him. When I finally did get on his show, 10 former contestants went on stage and did the Top 10 list: ‘Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Survivor.’  I was No. 1: ‘Several contestants later posed for Playboy—and I’m one of them.’ ”

 

Hugh Fink
Comedian and former Saturday Night Live writer

“My debut on the show was in 2001. I was backstage waiting to go on, more nervous than I’ve ever been for a TV appearance. Dave came backstage and said, ‘Hugh Fink, I’m David Letterman. I want to apologize for not having you on the show earlier. You’re hilarious.’ I’ve talked to other people who assure me he never does that. Then he said, ‘So you’re from Indy. What part of town? Where did you go to high school? Is your family still there?’ He wanted to make a connection.”

 

Shelley Long visits 'Late Night' in 1989.
Shelley Long visits ‘Late Night’ in 1989.

Photo courtesy NBC Universal

Shelley Long
Former star of Cheers

“When I was booked to do Late Night, a friend suggested I wear a Little Bo Peep costume. I went to the expense of having one made and shipped to the show. Letterman’s first comment was, ‘Well, where are the sheep?’ All I could say was, ‘No, no sheep.’ Later, I think I had the presence of mind to say, ‘Bo Peep lost her sheep.’ But by that time, Letterman had so demoralized me with jokes. After all that hassle, it’s one of those things that didn’t pay off.”

 

Reggie Miller
Former Indiana Pacers star

“I was on the show two or three times, but one stands out. I called Mama Letterman and told her I was going to be on Late Night. She asked me to take Dave some of his favorite cookies that she bakes. So I drove to Carmel and picked up a batch, and I gave them to him on the air. Isn’t that just a perfect example of Hoosier hospitality? I can’t remember whether they were oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip, but I do remember this: He barely shared them with me. He was stingy. Stingy!”

 

Toby Myers
Bass player for John Mellencamp

“The first time we did the show was 1982, and the last time was in 2003. I only got to say one thing to Dave. He was looking for the exit as soon as he shook hands with the lead singer. That was usually the last thing on the show, and once he got through shaking hands with John, he was out of there. But once, I beat him to the door. I said, ‘Hey, Dave, Pike High, 1967.’ He goes, ‘Power to the people!’ That’s the only thing he ever said to me.”

 

Henry Lee Summer
Rock musician

“I was so excited to be on Late Night. When I came offstage after rehearsal, I went back to the green room. Bruce Willis, who was going to be the first guest, looked at me and said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ I think he thought I was from outer space or something. I caught some flack from the local media for acting like a hillbilly. Well, I am a hillbilly! But Dave was very gracious.”

 

Frank Vogel
Indiana Pacers coach

“I was just a kid when I went on his show. Some friends thought a thing I did—brushing my teeth with a spinning basketball on the end of a toothbrush—would make a good Stupid Human Trick. So I auditioned. Their production team said David wanted to have a natural reaction to the trick, so I didn’t meet him until I was on the show. He came over afterward, took some pictures, and wished me well. An all-too-brief experience, really.”


Racing

Having grown up when the 500 was the only reason to visit Naptown all year, Letterman became an IndyCar fanatic at a young age and never lost his enthusiasm for it. In 2004, he became a team owner (Rahal Letterman Lanigan). Every year, he returns for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. And after he retires from television this month, his colleagues at the Speedway hope there will be more time for stories like these.

The TV legend returns each May for the Indy 500.

Photo by Tom Stickland via AP Photo

 

 

Mario Andretti
Winner of the 1969 Indianapolis 500

“It was 1971, and I had just crashed out of the race in Indy. I’m relatively short, and I saw this tall young guy coming over to the fence to interview me. Dave was trying to be aggressive, but it was obvious he was nervous. He was shaking. Then a few months later, I saw him on TV as a weatherman and I thought, Wow. This guy is trying to break into sports reporting at the same time he’s doing the weather. He’s quite the entrepreneur. Before I knew it, he was in New York. He still claims I was his first interview.”

 

Bobby Rahal
Winner of the 1986 Indianapolis 500 and co-owner of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (RLL)

“I met Dave after I won the 500. Jack Hanna was a mutual friend of ours, and he was always on Late Night. Jack mentioned that he knew me, and the next thing I knew, Dave’s people were calling to have me on the show. From the beginning, he was very knowledgeable about racing. He read the industry magazines. I’m not saying he knew how to rebuild the front suspension of a racecar, but he understood a lot. At the 500, fans love him. They’re lined up six deep near our hospitality unit trying to catch a glimpse of him. Sometimes he brings Harry [Letterman’s son with his second wife, Regina Lasko]. Dave signs autographs and chats. He’s not sitting inside the motorhome in disguise.”

 

Team co-owners Letterman and Bobby Rahal celebrated a win at the 2004 Indy 500 with driver Buddy Rice.
Team co-owners Letterman and Bobby Rahal celebrated a win at the 2004 Indy 500 with driver Buddy Rice.

Photo by Tom Strattman via AP Photo

Buddy Rice
Winner of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 and former RLL driver

“I first met Dave in 2004, the year his name was added to the team. So it was a lucky thing to win the 500 that May. It had rained all day, and they cut the race short. Even the celebration had to be held in the garages, which made it more intimate. Dave kept to himself as he often does, but I remember he came over to me and said that this was the third-most exciting thing that had ever happened to him. The first was his wife and son, and the second was his show. So that was good company to be in.”

 

Graham Rahal
Driver for RLL

“Dave and I sat together at the Indy 500 when I was 4 years old. Supposedly, I had every car and driver memorized. So Dave spent a lot of the day quizzing me. When I won my first race, I received an extremely nice bottle of Dom Perignon from him, signed. I’ve never opened it. It’s one of the coolest trophies I have. As for his sense of humor, Dave can’t help but be funny wherever he goes. But he’s funny in a very unscripted way. We’ll be at a sponsor dinner where everyone is eating shrimp, and he’ll announce that the shrimp has been poisoned by motor oil. His humor is always so dry.”

 

Bryan Herta
Former driver for RLL

“When he joined the Rahal team, we held a press conference in New York. I remember being a little shell-shocked by his wit and the weird directions it took onstage. He said we were opening a Dairy Queen together. At that time, they weren’t broadcasting a lot of the races live. So Dave would often get up at 2 a.m. and drive to the ESPN headquarters in Connecticut to watch. He’s that fervent a fan. His knowledge of racing is encyclopedic, which is probably part and parcel of how his brain works on everything. To this day, when I run into him, he always asks about my family by name. ‘How’s your wife, Janette?’ ‘How’s your father, Tom?’ It has been years! For a long time, I assumed he must have an assistant feeding him these things.”

 

Kenny Brack
Winner of the 1999 Indianapolis 500 and former RLL driver

“In the ’90s, I had my own Swedish TV show in which I tried to find out what drove people to perform extraordinarily. Dave is obviously one of those individuals. At the time, Dave hadn’t done an interview for 20 years. I didn’t expect him to say yes to a show broadcast in a small country hosted by a racecar driver. But there I was with my team on the roof of the Ed Sullivan Theater, doing an interview with one of the world’s biggest TV personalities. It’s just proof that Dave has a big heart. After my accident in 2003 [still considered one of the worst in IndyCar history], he was in my pit, making sure I was okay.”

 

Mario Andretti

“I did a Top 10 once: ‘Top Ten Things Auto Racing Has Taught Me.’ I didn’t blow it, either! I try to relax on television because it’s supposed to be fun. It wasn’t going to be a career-changing thing for me. And then I was on when I retired. But I continue to travel a great deal, I still work with Firestone, I give keynote speeches all over the world. Dave should do the same. He’s obviously going to be a sought-after personality even after he’s done. You don’t just go fishing at that age.”

 

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