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
<<
<
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
>
>>
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
November 23, 2014 -- Updated 1806 GMT (0206 HKT)
Click through our gallery to remember those we lost this year.
November 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has died at age 78.
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.
November 15, 2014 -- Updated 0224 GMT (1024 HKT)
Former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne -- the first and, even now, only woman to lead that city -- has died.
November 13, 2014 -- Updated 1112 GMT (1912 HKT)
Actress Carol Ann Susi, whose brash Brooklyn accent reverberated on the hit television series "The Big Bang Theory," has died after a battle with cancer.
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
A member of the Sugarhill Gang, whose pioneering hit "Rapper's Delight" brought hip hop to mainstream audiences 35 years ago, died at age 57.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Tom Magliozzi, half of the "Click and Clack" team of brothers who hosted NPR's "Car Talk" radio show, died at age 77.
November 2, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Wayne Richard Wells, the frontman and founder of the California metal band Static-X, has died. He was 48.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2127 GMT (0527 HKT)
Thomas Menino, who retired this year as the longest-serving mayor in Boston history, has died at 71 after a battle with cancer.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 2022 GMT (0422 HKT)
Elizabeth Norment, best known for her role as loyal secretary to Kevin Spacey's character on "House of Cards," died of cancer at 61.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0303 GMT (1103 HKT)
Zambian President Michael Sata, who was nicknamed "King Cobra" for his fiery comebacks and larger-than-life personality, has died. He was 77.
October 26, 2014 -- Updated 0007 GMT (0807 HKT)
Jack Bruce, bassist for the legendary 1960s rock band Cream, has died at 71.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Ben Bradlee, the charismatic Washington Post editor who guided the paper through the era of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, has died. He was 93.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta, who spent half a century putting high society in haute couture, has died. He was 82.
ADVERTISEMENT