David Brenner Died Laughing!

Published on: March 20, 2014
Photography by: Getty Images
David Brenner

Beloved funnyguy David Brenner kept the jokes coming right up till the end – and beyond!

The legendary comic, who passed away from cancer at the age of 78, asked to have $100 in small bills placed in his left sock after he died – “in case tipping is recommended where I’m going”!

“That was just like David,” said a longtime friend. “He could find something funny in anything...even death. David didn’t want people to be sad when he died."

Brenner, who was surrounded by loved ones at his New York home when he passed on March 15, made a record 158 appearances on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” He guest-hosted 75 times.

Despite having the ability to turn any situation into a joke, sources say the final year of Brenner’s life was far from funny.

“He suffered from cancer in secret because he didn’t want anyone to know,” said an entertainment industry colleague. “David told even his closest friends he just had a bad case of the flu.”

The colleague says Brenner had been battling the dreaded disease for “at least a year” but continued to do standup through 2013.

He even had a four-day gig in December, including a New Year’s eve performance at a Pennsylvania casino/resort.

Brenner is survived by his second wife, Ruth, whom he wed in 2011, three sons and a grandson.

He was previously married to Elizabeth Slater – mom of two of his sons – but their union collapsed in 2001.

Three years later, the source says Brenner met and fell in love with champion ice skater Tai Babilonia. They got engaged but never married. 

Despite his cancer, David kept the laughs coming right up to his grave, where his epitaph will read: “If this is supposed to be a joke – then I don’t get it!”