Murray, Dylan celebrate Letterman's final moments

By: CBS Entertainment and CBS New York

NEW YORK -- Bill Murray, who was David Letterman's very first "Late Night" guest nearly three decades ago, made his 44th appearance Tuesday night.

After the show taping wrapped, Murray took his farewell into the streets outside the Ed Sullivan theater wearing goggles and covered in cake.

David Letterman's legendary career in television will come to a close after more than 30 years and more than 6,000 shows,

He will officially say goodbye to "The Late Show" at the Ed Sullivan Theater Wednesday night.

Tuesday marked Letterman's second last show before his retirement from "The Late Show," and Bill Murray marked the occasion by jumping out of a giant cake.

Bill Murray takes the cake for final "Letterman" appearance.

CBS Entertainment (@CBSShowbiz) May 20, 2015

Bob Dylan also performed on "The Late Show" Tuesday night, making his first appearance on the program since Letterman's first year on CBS - on Nov. 18, 1993.


Letterman was born in Indianapolis in 1947, and began his career as a local radio talk show host and TV weatherman there.

He got his television start on the national scale in 1978, on the CBS variety series "Mary," starring Mary Tyler Moore. Months later, he paid his first visit to "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" marking the first of 22 appearances. He also guest-hosted "Tonight" numerous times, CBS News recalled.

In 1980, Letterman started hosting the Emmy Award-winning morning comedy-variety program, "The David Letterman Show," which ran for three months on NBC. He followed that up with "Late Night with David Letterman," which premiered in February 1982 and ran for 11 years.

Letterman jumped to CBS in 1993 after NBC went with Jay Leno as the new host of the "Tonight Show." To accommodate the new late night program, CBS purchased and renovated the Ed Sullivan Theater, 1697 Broadway, where "The Ed Sullivan Show" was taped from 1948 until 1971 and which Letterman has used for his show for his entire CBS run.

In 2011, Letterman received the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence at Comedy Central's first annual The Comedy Awards, CBS News recalled. Letterman has also won two American Comedy Awards as funniest male performer in a television series. He was honored as "Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host" at the 31st annual People's Choice Awards in 2005.

In total, Letterman's shows have received 108 Emmy nominations and eight wins. He also won a Peabody Award in 1992.

On the occasion of Letterman's 25th anniversary with "The Late Show" back in 2007, CBS News identified the following milestones:

Aug. 30, 1993 - More than 23 million viewers tune in for the premiere of "The Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS. Guests include Bill Murray, who spraypainted "Dave" on Letterman's desk, and signer Billy Joel. News anchor Tom Brokaw and actor Paul Newman also make surprise appearances.

March 31, 1994: Madonna makes a famous appearance on Letterman, which her uses of expletives made the most censored episode of any American network talk show in history;

April 12, 1995: As CBS News put it, "Dave gets a birthday gift he'll never forget when drew Barrymore jumps on his desk and flashes her breasts to a stunned Letterman."

Dec. 31, 1999: "The Late Show" rings in the year 2000 with a prime-time special, featuring "The King of Queens" star Kevin James, a performance by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and cameo appearances by Dick Clark and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Jan. 14, 2000: Letterman undergoes quintuple bypass heart surgery at New York Hospital. He returns on Feb. 21 and brings his doctors and nurses on stage to personally thank them. The following night Bill Cosby becomes the first person other than Letterman to host the "Late Show."

Sept. 17, 2001: Letterman returns to the airwaves for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in a show that featured Dan Rather and Regis Philbin. The Emmy Award-winning broadcast was hailed by the New York Daily News as "one of the purest, most honest and important moments in TV history" and a valuable service to the community, CBS News recalled.

Nov. 4, 2003: Letterman proudly announces that "last night at 11:58, I became a father" to his first son, Harry Joseph Letterman - now 10.

May 9, 2006: Britney Spears makes a surprise visit to the show and announces to Letterman that she's having her second child. "Don't worry, Dave," she says. "It's not yours."

The memorable broadcasts have continued in more recent years.

Sept. 19, 2012: President Barack Obama appears on "The Late Show" in the midst of his reelection campaign, slamming rival Mitt Romney for the Republican candidate's remark about "47 percent of the people" being Obama supporters who are dependent on government and identify as victims.

April 9, 2013: Lindsay Lohan tears up as she talks about her stint in rehab in an awkward interview with Letterman.

Feb. 9, 2014: CBS airs Letterman's interview with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr at the Ed Sullivan Theater - in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' American television debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in the very same building.

April 2, 2014: Letterman and Bill Murray join Lady Gaga in leading the entire audience from the Ed Sullivan Theater to the nearby and soon-to-close Roseland Ballroom for a surprise concert.

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