Himself (1993-2002) on Late Show with David Letterman
7/23/1921, Brooklyn, New York
Calvert was perhaps best known for his role as Larry "Bud" Melman on Late Night with David Letterman.
When he was young, he had expressed an interest in acting, but his mother was not pleased with the idea of her son not having a "real job", so he went to work as clerk at Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals. When his mother passed away, he began to do volunteer work at small local theatres.
It was his appearance in a student project at New York University's film school called "King of the Z's" that caught the attention of the Late Night producers and of David Letterman. They were so impressed with his deadpan delivery and frumpy appearance that they wanted to meet with him immediately. When a limousine was sent to bring him to a meeting with Letterman and his staff, DeForest thought it was a joke.
Having been given the stage name "Larry 'Bud' Melman," he delivered the opening line of the very first broadcast of Late Night on February 1st, 1982. His opening presentation was a parody of the prologue of the Boris Karloff horror c "Frankenstein" and was as follows:
"Good evening. Certain NBC executives feel it would be unkind to present this show without a word of friendly warning. We are about to unfold a show featuring David Letterman, a man of science who sought to create a show after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you don't care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now is your chance to ... well, we warned you." From that moment, a legend was born.
The character he had created with David Letterman was little more than a visual punch line with no comedic skills whatsoever, but that is what made him memorable and lovable. Over the years, Calvert parlayed that fame into numerous movie and television appearances, commercial work for many major companies such as AT&T, Doritos and others, as well as appearing in music videos such as "King of Rock" by Run DMC.
Although Calvert DeForest followed David Letterman and the show to CBS in 1993, the character name of "Larry 'Bud' Melman" remained the intellectual property of NBC and could no longer be used.
He continued to work with Letterman for several years after the move to CBS. In a repeat of his NBC introduction of the new show in 1982, DeForest introduced the new CBS show by sticking his face into the center of the CBS eye logo and announcing "This is CBS!" just before the opening theme plays for the first time.
As time went on, his failing health prevented him from making as many appearances as he used to do. He made his last appearance in 2002, when his 81st birthday was celebrated onstage. Finally, on March 19th, 2007 Mr. DeForest passed away of natural causes. At his request, there was no funeral service held. He had no surviving relatives.moreless
Calvert Lewis DeForest, Jr.
Brooklyn, New York
- Trivia & Quotes
Calvert DeForest: (When asked why his mother disapproved of him wanting to act for a living) My mom and uncle were both in the theatre. They always told me about the bad things, never the good things. They tried to talk me out of acting, but my heart was set on acting and I wouldn't listen to them.
Calvert DeForest: (When asked about making his first appearance on David Letterman's show in 1982) I was very nervous since I never did this before. It felt very strange, however, once it was over I felt very relaxed.
Calvert DeForest: (To introduce the first episode of "Late Night With David Letterman" in 1982)
Good evening. Certain NBC executives feel it would be unkind to present this show without a word of friendly warning. We are about to unfold a show featuring David Letterman, a man of science who sought to create a show after his own image without reckoning upon God. It is one of the strangest tales ever told. I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you. So if any of you feel that you don't care to subject your nerves to such a strain, now is your chance to ... well, we warned you.
Calvert DeForest: (When crowds scream as he passes by) I feel like Elvis!
Calvert DeForest: (When asked about landing his recurring role on "Late Night With David Letterman") It was the greatest thing that had happened in my life.
He made a cameo appearance in the Run DMC video "King of Rock".
When he travelled to Minneapolis for "Late Night with David Letterman", he went dressed as Mary Tyler Moore.
In 1999, he released an album called "Calvert Deforest: Erotic Experience". The songs selected for the compilation were inspired by the popularity of "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery".
In 1994, he released a book called "Cheap Advice". It was a humorous look at life and how to deal with adversity.
He was the only television personality to be invited to Woodstock '94.