David Letterman

  1. Neil Thompson, Kentucky Fried Movie, 1977.      The future talk show king – for 33 years on, first NBC, then CBS – flunked the newscaster role. All four seconds of it! Thompson went on to Mad Max, 1978, and Modern Problems, 1981, while on the strength of his sketch movie, director John Landis won Animal House and a career.
  2. Robert Hays, Airplane!  1980.       Tested for the central role of the pilot afraid of flying in the Zucker brothers’ spoof of Zero Hour!1957.  Also considered: Chevy Chase, Barry Manilow (honestly, I don’t make these things up), Bill Murray, Fred Willard  (“I didn’t understand it!”) and Robert Wuhl.Another TV star won and was swiftly forgotten, as Letterman rode on to CBS Late Showglory.
  3. Stu Nathan, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 1981.        The US high school movie…! Researched and written by Cameron Crowe, directed by Amy Heckerling. In Crowe’s book, the stoned surfer Jeff Spicilo dreams he’s on The Tonight Show. No with me, said Carson. And the other talk-show hosts followed their master. Like lemmings. Well, Letterman dalllied awhile, until his agent warned him off any movie featuring drugs. So Sean Penn’s Spicoli was interviewed by sports announcer Stu Nathan.    “Well, Stu I’ll tell you, surfing’s not a sport, it’s a way of life… a way of looking at that wave and saying: Hey bud, let’s party!”


 Usual occupation: Mr Talk ShowBirth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  3