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DeForest, Better Known as Melman, Dies

Mar 21, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Calvert DeForest, who became best known as the cranky, absurdist character Larry “Bud” Melman for 11 years on “Late Night With David Letterman” on NBC, died Monday in a Long Island hospital after a long illness. He was 85.

“It was the greatest thing that had happened in my life,” he said of the character. But because the Melman moniker was considered NBC’s intellectual property, Mr. DeForest appeared under his own name on “Late Show With David Letterman” after it debuted on CBS in 1993.

His last appearance on “The Late Show” was in 2002, to celebrate his 81st birthday.

By then he had starred as Larry “Bud” Melman in his own home video, “Couch Potato Workout,” as well as a long list of movies and TV shows.

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

Wednesday night’s “Late Show” was taped Monday, before news of the death had been received.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Bay Ridge, Mr. DeForest was a lifelong Broadway, opera and film devotee.

At his request, there will be no funeral ceremony. Donations may be made in his name to the Actors’ Fund of America, 729 Seventh Ave., 10th floor, New York, NY 10019.

(Editor: Horowitz)