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Celebrities pay tribute to David Letterman

David Letterman, host of the "Late Show with

David Letterman, host of the "Late Show with David Letterman," on set on Thursday, April 3, 2014. Credit: CBS / Jeffrey R. Staab

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Prior to the final "Late Show with David Letterman" Wednesday night, tributes poured in from fellow talk-show hosts, comedians and others marking the end of an era.

David Letterman said goodbye last night as tributes poured in from fellow talk-show hosts, comedians and others marking the end of an era.

Jimmy Kimmel of ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" had on Tuesday night recalled watching Letterman religiously, starting from his mid-teens. "Not only did I learn how to do everything from Dave, the reason I have this show is because," he said, becoming emotional, "the executives at ABC saw me when I was a guest on Dave's show and hired me to host this show. So I want to thank Dave and his writers and producers."

He urged viewers to watch the finale of CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman" rather than a scheduled rerun of his own show, "especially if you're a young person who doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. Dave is the best and you should see him."

Seth Meyers, current host of Letterman's former NBC program, "Late Night," paid homage by recreating that show's original 1980s opening Tuesday night. "We went out to the same streets, the same buildings, and reshot the opening," explained Meyers, whom the announcer had introduced as "a man who knows that it's Letterman's show and he's just borrowing it!"

Retired daytime host Regis Philbin -- who has appeared roughly 150 times on the "Late Show," more than any other guest -- broke into Letterman's monologue Tuesday night, joking, "Where am I going to go?" and telling Letterman more seriously, "You must come back to television. You must. That's an absolute must."

And on "The View" Wednesday co-host Nicolle Wallace said Letterman "embodies the idea of a host. When you sit in his chair, you are his guest. . . . I'm nervous sometimes when I do shows because I know a lot of people don't agree with my politics, but he was an old-fashioned, sweet, kind, generous host."

Guest host Michelle Collins agreed. "As a comedian, I gotta say that he certainly influenced me. I mean, just growing up you had basically [Johnny] Carson . . . and then [Jay] Leno and Letterman and that was it. . . . And now you have all these new guys and they're all very funny, but Letterman . . . [was] the last man standing of that old-school group."

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