The stage name of actor Calvert DeForest who appeared in sight gags and silly sketches on NBC’s LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN in the 1980s and 1990s.
Larry “Bud” Melman was an “everyman” character with a lisp and a Brooklyn accent. He wore trademark black frame glasses and performed in send-ups of such media celebrities as Roy Orbison, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Meatloaf and in zany physical stunts like getting tied to a wire and sent crashing through a Styrofoam model of the Berlin Wall. Prior to his gig on television, the 61 year-old Calvert worked as a file clerk in a drug rehabilitation center.
When David Letterman left NBC network for his new program LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN on the CBS network in August of 1993, attorney’s for NBC informed Letterman that he no longer could use the Larry “Bud” Melman character because it was their “intellectual property.” This didn’t stop Letterman from using DeForest on his new program, however.
In one sketch, David Letterman had a roving cameraman scan the sidewalks of New York and there was Calvert DeForest standing innocently on cue to the amusement of millions. Another sketch found Calvert standing outside the TV studio telling the time to David Letterman from a large overhead clock. Calvert later became a commercial spokesman for AT&T and Domino’s pizza.
Despite the fact that DeForest often flubbed his lines and missed his cues, the charm of his character was that he just wasn’t trying to act. What you saw, was what you got (People Weekly 1/17/94 p. 86-88).
Born on July 23, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York Calvert DeForest died on March 19, 2007 in West Islip, Long Island, New York at the age of 85.
According to David Letterman, “Everyone always wondered if Calvert was an actor playing a character, but in reality he was just himself: a genuine, modest and nice man.”