Tonight Show host Brenner dies
The gangly, toothy-grinned Tonight Show favourite , who had been fighting cancer, died peacefully at his home in New York City with his family at his side, according to Jeff Abraham, his friend and publicist.
His 150-plus Tonight Show appearances turned the former documentary film-maker into a hot comedian. Brenner was a regular on other TV talk shows and game shows and starred in four HBO comedy specials. He also briefly hosted his own syndicated talk show in 1987.
He moved with the times, trading routines about the humour of everyday life for jokes about social and political issues. He appeared on MSNBC and Fox News Channel cable programmes as well as talk shows.
Fellow comedian Richard Lewis said: "David Brenner was a huge star when I met him and he took me under his wing. To me, historically, he was the godfather of hip, observational comedy. He mentored me from day one. His passing leaves a hole in my life that can never be replaced."
Mr Abraham said: "David was one of the most respected and liked comedians by his peers. He was always there helping a bright young comedian, whether it be Richard Lewis, Freddie Prinze or Jimmie Walker, and he was still doing it until the very end."
Brenner worked steadily through last year doing stand-up. A four-day stint in December included a New Year's Eve show in Pennsylvania in which he showcased young comedians.