Comedian David Brenner died today at his home in New York, NY. He was 78. A favorite of Tonight Show host, Johnny Carson, Brenner made over 150 appearances as a guest and substitute host on the NBC latenight show, starting in the ’70s. A contemporary of such stand-up legends as Andy Kaufman, Freddie Prinze and Gabe Kaplan, Brenner made a name for his observational comedic styling accentuated by his toothy grin, wavy hair and lanky demeanor. Brenner was born on Feb. 4, 1936 in Philadelphia, the son of a vaudeville singer and comedian who went under the stage name “Lou Murphy”. Brenner served two years in the Army and after majoring in mass communications at Temple University, he went on to write, direct and produce socially-conscious TV documentaries as the head of the doc department at Westinghouse Broadcasting and Multimedia Broadcasting. Cutting his teeth on the stand-up circuit in New York, in the late ’60s, Brenner was spotted by a Tonight Show talent scout. Several auditions later, Brenner made his debut on the latenight show on January 8, 1971. In 1976, Brenner starred in the short-lived comedy NBC series Snip opposite Lesley Ann Warren, which was a take-off on Warren Beatty’s 1975 film Shampoo. He also played a charity ball auctioneer in the 1989 romantic comedy Worth Winning starring Mark Harmon and Madeleine Stowe. The comedian also made appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The David Frost Show, The Mike Douglas Show, Real Time With Bill Maher, The Late Show With David Letterman, The Daily Show and was a frequent guest on Howard Stern. Brenner was one of the comedians featured in the 2005 cult documentary The Aristocrats. Brenner died in New York City at his home. Enjoy this clip of Brenner guest-hosting The Tonight Show:
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