12:00 PM EDT 08/26/2015

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Late Show With David Letterman

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David Letterman Just Retired – What Do We Do Now?

Late Show With David Letterman

UpdatePosted 05/21/2015 10:00AM

David Letterman Just Retired – What Do We Do Now?

Originally posted 05/21/2015 01:30AM

The final night of David Letterman's CBS Late Show, marking his formal retirement from television, was not actually all that special. Which is what made it so special.

Even with an opening that featured a bunch of presidents and a closing that revealed the presence of Letterman's son, Harry, in the audience, it was a modest and self-deprecating evening.

Letterman, who began his career bristling with porcupine quills and has lost all but a few of them over three decades, was too kind to tell his fans that they face a troubling new era fraught with doubt and questions.

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Top 10 Highlights from David Letterman's Final Late Show

Late Show With David Letterman

Top 10 Highlights from David Letterman's Final Late Show

Originally posted 05/21/2015 03:40AM

David Letterman made America laugh for 33 years as a late-night host, but the real challenge as he closed out his legendary tenure on Wednesday night was holding back a tear or two.

Letterman, 68, bid his final "Thank you and good night" to viewers after nearly 22 years behind the desk of CBS's Late Show. The 16-time Emmy winner's final show after 6,028 broadcasts was a star-studded extravaganza that still managed to be touching – after all, Letterman has seen incredible highs and lows during the decades that have cemented his reputation as a late-night pioneer.

And so, in homage to the man who made Top 10 lists a thing, here's one more for Dave himself.

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See How Celebs Are Saying Goodbye to David Letterman on Social Media

Late Show With David Letterman

Celebrities Flood David Letterman with Praise and Farewells on Social Media

Originally posted 05/20/2015 09:15PM

After nearly 22 years as the host of CBS's Late Show, David Letterman has chatted up mostly everyone. Now the attention he's paid to stars of stage, screen and song is being returned to him in a big way.

Just this past week, some of his most famous buddies – including Bill Murray, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Eddie Vedder – have stopped by to say goodbye to the late-night legend.

More overwhelming, though, are the number of former guests (Letterman has, after all, clocked more than 6,000 broadcasts in his 33 years as a late-night host) who have taken to social media to say their goodbyes.

Below, highlights from the tributes Letterman's legend and how his retirement signals the end of a late-night TV era.

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Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS
See Which Stars Attended David Letterman's Final Late Show Taping (PHOTOS)

Late Show With David Letterman

See Which Stars Attended David Letterman's Final Late Show Taping (PHOTOS)

Originally posted 05/20/2015 05:35PM

David Letterman started the process of saying goodbye to the Late Show he hosted for nearly 22 years on Wednesday afternoon – and wasn't he in fine company?

Letterman, 68, had already welcomed a galaxy of stars during his final weeks as the show's host (Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, President Barack Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, Billy Crystal, Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Scarlett Johansson, John Travolta and Bruce Willis – to name just a few). And in advance of his last taping, more A-listers made their way into the historic Ed Sullivan Theater.

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Credit: Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS
Saying Goodbye to David Letterman: A Look Back at His 33-Year Legacy

People Picks

Saying Goodbye to David Letterman: A Look Back at His 33-Year Legacy

Originally posted 05/20/2015 04:00PM

When NBC handed David Letterman Late Night in 1982, his offbeat humor ushered in a new era of late night.

Thirty-three years later, he's stepping down from a late-night landscape that changed around him, having stayed true to himself as the medium changed from appointment viewing to something to be easily digested the next morning in three- to four-minute clips.

"I recognized the value of it," Letterman told The New York Times back in April of his competitors' tendency to gear their shows toward digital audiences. "It's just, I didn't know what to say. You go back to your parents' house, and they still have the rotary phone. It's a little like that."

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Jimmy Kimmel, Holding Back Tears, Pays Emotional Tribute to David Letterman: VIDEO

Originally posted 05/20/2015 12:15PM

An emotional Jimmy Kimmel choked up several times Tuesday night while paying tribute to his idol David Letterman, whose final show airs Wednesday.

"I learned almost nothing in college, but watching Late Night, not only did I learn everything from Dave, but the reason I have this show is because," Kimmel said haltingly, his voice trembling, as he stopped to keep himself from crying. "The executives at ABC saw me when I was a guest on Dave's show and hired me to host this show. I want to thank Dave."

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Late Show With David Letterman

Bill Murray Jumps Out of a Cake for David Letterman (Video)

Originally posted 05/19/2015 09:50PM

When it comes to Bill Murray, always expect the unexpected.

The actor didn't disappoint when he appeared as David Letterman's final guest on Tuesday's Late Show.

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Watch Jimmy Fallon's Heartfelt Tribute to 'Courageous' David Letterman (VIDEO)

Originally posted 05/19/2015 07:40AM

Jimmy Fallon got serious for a moment Monday night, delivering a heartfelt message to the retiring David Letterman: "Like every kid who grew up watching him, [I] will miss him."

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Eddie Vedder Gives Emotional Farewell Serenade to David Letterman: Watch Him Sing 'Better Man' (VIDEO)

Originally posted 05/19/2015 07:10AM

Pearl Jam played for David Letterman on The Late Show for the first time in 1996, and almost 20 years later, Eddie Vedder showed up to sing an emotional version of his band's song "Better Man" to commemorate Letterman's departure.

"We couldn't be happier to have him back here with us tonight," Letterman said.

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Late Show With David Letterman

Tom Hanks Teaches David Letterman How to Use a Selfie Stick

Originally posted 05/19/2015 02:30AM

Julia Roberts kissed him, George Clooney handcuffed him, but all Tom Hanks wanted from David Letterman was a photo.

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