David Letterman today, bald-headed and bearded (photo © AKM-GSI) and how viewers of The Late Show were used to seeing him.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, beards are about as divisive as Marmite when it comes to people’s tastes.
The latest life-long clean-shaven man to become a ‘beardie’ is former television talk show host and comedian David Letterman.
The 68-year-old, who ended his late-night tenure last May when he stepped aside as host of CBS’s The Late Show, looked happy as can be with a big smile and even bigger beard when he was photographed jogging in a T-shirt and shorts on Tuesday.
Appearing on television every night, Letterman wore suits and kept his face cleanly shaven but, having now retired from presenting national programmes for more than 30 years, I think he can be forgiven for deciding to relaxed a bit.
Speaking last December, he said: “You know what? I used to say, every day, ‘I am so sick and tired of shaving.’ I had to shave every day; every day for 33 years.
“And even before that when I was working on local TV I just thought, the first thing I will do when I am not on TV is stop shaving.”
He is having fun, too, in typical Letterman style. “Everybody hates it. My wife hates it. My son hates it,” he laughs, “but it’s interesting. I’ve kind of developed a real creepy look with it that I’m sort of enjoying. And I can tell that people are put-off by it.”
With a twinkle in those well-known eyes, he told a US journalist: “The more people implore me to shave, the stronger my resolve is to not shave. So the day that I shave, I’ll call you.”
I have to say, I do know how he feels having spent my career mainly clean-shaven, except for spending five or six years with a moustache, my desire to stop shaving was very strong. After multiple sclerosis forced me to stop working in 2006, my shaving continued for another four years until my first marriage broke down.
By the beginning of 2011 my beard was established and Lisa loves it.
Beards, to me, are not about manliness but about comfort and freedom from shaving – although beard-trimming and grooming are equally important.
Will I ever return to the world of shaving every day? Well, you should never say ‘never’ but that possibility is extremely unlikely; in fact, verging on the ridiculous.