Skip to main content

'Tonight Show' favorite David Brenner dies at 78

By Sarah Aarthun, CNN
March 16, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Click through to see<a href='http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/world/obituaries-2014'> people who died</a> in 2014. Click through to see people who died in 2014.
HIDE CAPTION
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
People we lost in 2014
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83
84
85
86
87
88
89
90
91
92
93
94
95
96
97
98
99
100
101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
112
113
114
115
116
117
118
119
120
121
122
123
124
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Brenner appeared 158 times on Johnny Carson's late-night show
  • Brenner started out in television documentaries
  • "Knowing David, he's now making the devil laugh," Joan Rivers tweets

(CNN) -- Comedian David Brenner, a regular on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show," has died after a battle with cancer, a family spokesman said Saturday. He was 78.

Brenner was a staple on Carson's late-night show, appearing more times than any other guest -- 158, according to a bio on his official website.

Before getting into comedy, Brenner helped write, produce and direct 115 TV documentaries, earning him nearly 30 awards.

2005: David Brenner recalls comedy gig

Brenner also was the author of five books -- his latest published in 2003, "I Think There's a Terrorist in My Soup."

Even in death, he kept the jokes coming. Brenner's final request, according to family spokesman Jeff Abraham, was to have $100 in small bills tucked in his sock -- "just in case tipping is recommended where I'm going."

His gravesite will read: "If this is supposed to be a joke -- then I don't get it!," according to Abraham.

Comedian Joan Rivers, a longtime friend of Brenner's, tweeted about the news of his passing Saturday.

"RIP David Brenner. I adored him, and laughed more with him than anybody. Sad, sad, sad. Knowing David, he's now making the devil laugh," read Rivers' tweet.

Brenner is survived by his wife, three sons and a grandson.

People we lost in 2014

CNN's Mara Raphael contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer whose raspy voice brought plaintive soul to such hits as "You Are So Beautiful," has died at 70.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2326 GMT (0726 HKT)
The creator of "Clifford the Big Red Dog," has died, according to his publisher, Scholastic.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Legendary photographer Michel du Cille, a 26-year veteran of The Washington Post, unexpectedly died while on assignment in Liberia.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
Mary Ann Mobley, who was the first Mississippian to be crowned Miss America and then went on to a successful movie career, has died at 77.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 2135 GMT (0535 HKT)
Ken Weatherwax, who played Pugsley on the 1960s TV show "The Addams Family," has died at 59.
December 4, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Ian McLagan, the Faces keyboardist who also played on records by artists like the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, has died at 69.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0027 GMT (0827 HKT)
American saxophonist Bobby Keys, who for years toured and recorded with the Rolling Stones, has died.
November 29, 2014 -- Updated 0057 GMT (0857 HKT)
Roberto Gomez Bolanos gained fame as a comedian, but he was also a writer, actor, screenwriter, songwriter, film director and TV producer.
November 28, 2014 -- Updated 2040 GMT (0440 HKT)
Ryan Knight, a cast member on MTV's "Real World: New Orleans," has died at age 28.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1549 GMT (2349 HKT)
P.D. James, the British novelist renowned for her crime novels featuring detective Adam Dalgliesh as well as such works as "The Children of Men," has died at age 94.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 2038 GMT (0438 HKT)
A file picture taken on August 20, 2001 shows Lebanese popular singer Sabah displaying her medal after being honored at the opening of the 7th Cairo International Song festival in Cairo. Famed Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, whose seven-decade career made her one of the Arab world's best-known entertainers, died on November 26, 2014 at the age of 87, state media announced.
Lebanese singer and actress Sabah, died in Beirut. She was 87.
November 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has died at age 78.
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 2156 GMT (0556 HKT)
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle on Friday. She was 32.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 2340 GMT (0740 HKT)
Mike Nichols, the award-winning director and pioneering comedian who was one of the few people to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony award, has died at 83.
November 20, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
Jimmy Ruffin, silky-voiced singer of the Motown classic "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," died in Las Vegas at 78.
November 16, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
Prolific television producer Glen Larson passed away at the age of 77 after a battle with cancer. He produced many popular shows, including "Knight Rider" and "Battlestar Galactica."
November 14, 2014 -- Updated 2156 GMT (0556 HKT)
Diem Brown, the MTV reality star whose fight against cancer was an inspiration to many, lost that long battle at the age of 32.
ADVERTISEMENT