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Kathie Lee Gifford brings up Martin Short's (dead) wife

Hoda Kotb, left, and Kathie Lee Gifford attend

Hoda Kotb, left, and Kathie Lee Gifford attend the "Today" Show 60th anniversary celebration at The Edison Ballroom in Manhattan. (Jan. 12, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Committing one of the more red-faced gaffes on morning TV of recent memory, "Today" co-host Kathie Lee Gifford asked Martin Short about his wife. But Short's wife, former actress Nancy Dolman, died in August 2010.

The awkward moment Wednesday came during "Today's" fourth hour, which Gifford co-hosts with Hoda Kotb. A discussion of Short's three adult children segued to this:

"You and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business," Gifford said. "How many years for you guys now?"

Short appeared to check himself, then said, "married 36 years." Compounding the mistake further, Gifford continued: "But you're still in love. Madly in love." Short replied, "Madly in love."

Gifford continued by asking, "Why?" Short shrugged his shoulders and said, "Cute. I'm cute."

The show went to a break, and upon returning, Gifford acknowledged the mistake, saying she had apologized to Short.

She later tweeted: "I send my sincerest apologies to @MartinShort and his family. He handled situation w/enormous grace and kindness and I'm so grateful."

Short was on the program to promote his forthcoming "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted."

Short and Dolman met when she was an understudy (for Gilda Radner) in a 1972 Toronto production of "Godspell," according to IMDB.com, and they married in 1980. Dolman appeared in a handful of episodes of "Soap," though she later shelved her career to become a homemaker. She died Aug. 21, 2010, of ovarian cancer.

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