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'Tonight Show' Favorite, Comedian David Brenner Dies At 78

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Comedian David Brenner passed away Saturday, a spokesman for his family said. He was 78.

Jeff Abraham, who was Brenner's publicist, said the "Tonight Show" favorite died Saturday afternoon at his home in New York City.

'Tonight Show' Favorite, Comedian David Brenner Dies At 78

The gangly, toothy Brenner made more than 150 appearances as a guest and substitute host on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show,'' starting in the 1970s.

The exposure turned the former documentary filmmaker into a hot comedian.

Brenner was a regular on other TV talk shows and game shows and starred in four HBO comedy specials. He also briefly hosted his own syndicated talk show in 1987.

Brenner was a guest on WFAN's "Boomer & Carton" show in December 2009.

David Brenner 12/2009

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Howard Stern tweeted about Brenner Saturday following the news of his passing, saying "Keep David in your thoughts. Great guy who was always encouraging and in my corner. I am so sad."

Brenner continued to work steadily doing standup shows. A four-day gig last December included a New Year's Eve show at a casino-resort in King of Prussia, Pa.

He's also credited with inspiring the careers of the likes of Jerry Seinfeld and Richard Lewis, 1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reported.

"He's one of the first really standup comedians performing in comedy clubs. It wasn't really around back in the day," said Scott, an employee at Caroline's Comedy Club and a standup comedian himself.

Brenner had been battling cancer and died peacefully at his home, Baumgarten reported.

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