What Anyone Can Learn From Watching David Letterman's Mother

Dorothy Mengering, a beloved 'Late Show' fixture, dies at 95.
What Anyone Can Learn From Watching David Letterman's Mother
Image credit: Ron Galella, Ltd. | WireImage

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2 min read

While comedian David Letterman is certainly beloved for his dry and deadpan take on the world, he is also famous for being, let’s say difficult.

During his years as the host of The Late Show With David Letterman, his interview style could be combative and occasionally cruel, throwing even the most media trained celebrity off guard. But the hard-edged image Letterman projected was softened when the show dropped into his mom Dorothy Mengering’s pie-laden kitchen in Carmel, Ind.

Mengering died yesterday at 95. She often appeared on Letterman’s show during its 22-year run around Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day. In 1996, she wrote a cookbook called Home Cookin’ With Dave’s Mom, and in the winters of 1994, 1998 and 2002, she served as the show’s Olympics correspondent.

Related: 5 Reasons Stephen Colbert Is a Smart Pick for 'The Late Show'

We have all encountered people in our working lives with prickly personalities. But Letterman and Mengering’s relationship is a good reminder that even the toughest nut to crack may just have a Dorothy in their lives.

Such reminders can be powerful ways to think differently about the people we think we know for sure. With a fuller picture of the people in our lives -- even the difficult ones -- we'll have the empathy that's needed to work more successfully with a larger range of people.

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