Kathie Lee Gifford asks Martin Short how his deceased wife is doing, he rolls with it

I enjoy Kathie Lee and Hoda’s hour of The Today Show. I don’t even watch it once a week, but when I’ve caught it I’ve found them funny and entertaining. They can be goofy together, and it’s fun to watch. So when I heard that Kathie Lee asked Martin Short how his deceased wife was doing, I actually felt sorry for her. People are saying she should have done her research for the interview, and that’s true, but she must have been mortified afterwards. Kathie asked Martin, whose wife passed from cancer almost two years ago, how long he had been married and said that they must be still in love. Martin said “madly in love,” and was gracious enough not to tell Kathie Lee of her gaffe on the air. He told her during the commercial break, and she apologized afterwards on the air and on Twitter. Here’s more:

Martin Short appeared on the TODAY show Wednesday morning to promote Madagascar 3 and things took a turn for the worse when Kathie Lee Gifford asked Martin how his wife is doing — who died in 2010.

“And you and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?” Kathie Lee asked on live television, not realizing the error of her ways.

“We, uhhh, have married 36 years,” Martin graciously responded.

“But you’re still like, in love,” Kathie Lee continued.

“Madly in love, madly in love,” Martin said.

Later realizing the gaffe, Kathie Lee took to her Twitter account after the show with a message to Martin:

“I send my sincerest apologies to @MartinShort and his family. He handled situation w/enormous grace and kindness and I’m so grateful.”

Martin’s wife, Nancy Dolman, passed away on August 21, 2010 from cancer.

[From Radar Online]

TMZ has the full clip with Kathie Lee’s apology. (I didn’t use that one as there’s a commercial ahead of it.) Kathie Lee and Hoda described how Martin broke the news to them, and he sounded just so gracious about it. Kathie Lee said “My apologies to him and his family for not realizing that.”

Martin deserves a lot of credit for just answering the questions and then waiting patiently until the break to tell Kathie Lee she messed up big time. I doubt I would have been able to do that, and would probably have blurted it out at the first question about a deceased loved one.

I think Kathie Lee has been around so long, and knows so many people, that thinks she knows enough about every celebrity to not have to read up on them. Hopefully she won’t make such a big mistake again. It might not be the first time she’s done this. Someone in the comments on Radar mentioned that she asked James Taylor on the Regis & Kathie Lee show in the 90s how his brother was doing, and his brother had been dead a year. I wasn’t able to verify that, but I believe it.

Martin and his wife Nancy Dolman in 2009.
Martin Short

Martin and Nancy in 2004:
Martin Short

Photo credit: WENN.com

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90 Responses to “Kathie Lee Gifford asks Martin Short how his deceased wife is doing, he rolls with it”

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  1. brin says:

    It’s inexcusable and I can’t stand her, but I do feel bad for her. She was lucky he was so gracious.

    • JudyK says:

      I can’t stand her, either, and do NOT feel sorry for her. She’s in the news business–this was widely covered two years ago when it occurred.

      Is she living in a cave…I would assume one would do a modicum of research before interviewing a guest.

      And I wish she would quit constantly licking/smacking her lips…it drives me up the wall.

      • Genevieve says:

        Ditto. I cannot STAND the woman. Don’t get the fact that she’s still employable AT ALL 🙁

    • anon says:

      She is lucky she has a job. A google search of Martin Short (or anyone she is interviewing) would have shown this. Research is so easy these days SMH

    • corny says:

      he should have asked her how long her husband has been dead.

      • Marjalane says:

        Not to be too cute, but Frank Gifford seems to have lost all touch with reality years ago….

  2. Esmom says:

    Yeah, wow, how unbelievably mortifying. And it was more than just one question…terrible. I’m impressed with how incredibly gracious he was, I can’t even imagine maintaining such poise in that situation.

    • Eve says:

      Totally agree. And I know for sure I wouldn’t be able to be that elegant — would have told her off right on the spot.

  3. Marjalane says:

    I love Martin Short! But I have to say, I read a lot about celebs and I had no idea his wife had passed away from cancer. It was very classy of him to handle it how he did.

    • Launicaangelina says:

      I agree! I I’m a gossip addict and never realized his wife died. Good for him for handling this gracefully – I’m not so sure I would have.

    • Tina says:

      The difference is IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO KNOW. She may have I gig where she just sits for an hour getting drunk but she’s still interviewing people and it takes all of 2 minutes to wiki someone to find out the latest news in their life. she should be fired but you just know she’s going throw some intern under the bus for this.

  4. lucy2 says:

    Honest mistake, but agree that a quick read up on people ahead of time is always a good idea.
    Martin really handled that with grace and class.

  5. Gia says:

    I loved his answer and it truly brings tears to my eyes, “madly in love. Madly in love’.

    • Samigirl says:

      I have tears streaming down my face STILL. Beautiful answer.

      • SolitaryAngel says:

        Me too, Sami. So glad I’m not the only one crying. What a classy man he is, and a consummate professional. His pain & loss at the question was evident.

        KLG is an idiot & I have NO sympathy for her whatsoever.

      • Hakura says:

        Everyone has pretty much already said anything I would’ve. I think we’ve all thrown our hats in the same ring in regards to our opinions of Kathie & Martin in general.

        It just broke my heart hearing his answer “Madly in love,… We should all be so lucky to find a man (or woman, whichever we’re looking for) like that.

    • LeManda says:

      I agree so adorably sweet of him!

      Side note: Can we please get him in more movies!!!!! I love everything he does! I get that he’ll be voicing a cartoon but then we miss out on his comedic body language.

      • Samigirl says:

        Have you seen the L&O SVU episode he did? He played creepy VERY well. I found myself disliking him so much, I had to remind myself that he’s Clifford, lol :)He really is a great actor, and even if I didn’t love him, after THIS, I’d be more apt to see his work, simply because of how classy he is.

      • ZZZ says:

        I would love to see him much more. He played a pretty damn good bad guy in Damages too. Very good actor.

    • princesslizabeth says:

      That is such a sweet and sad answer.

      I don’t like Kathie Lee. Not good to interview someone with so little preparation. 🙁

    • jaye says:

      The fact that he answered the way he did shows not only how classy he is, it also had to be doubly mortifying for KLG. She’s always struck me as kind of out of touch and self absorbed, so the fact that she didn’t do even minimal research about her guest beforehand doesn’t surprise me.

  6. po says:

    You know that just shows you what a gentleman and a true professional looks like.

  7. Julie says:

    i feel for her but seriously its her job to be informed and prepared. its a pretty easy job and if you cant even bother to read a wikipedia article there are thousands outside the door waiting to take the job.

    kudos to martin.

    • Jen34 says:

      I agree. I can’t understand how anyone can feel sorry for HER. Most of us would lose our jobs over something so inexcusable.

      Martin Short has my utmost respect.

  8. Amy says:

    I remember the same thing happened with Stanley Tucci one time on The View. He was promotion “Lovely Bones” and Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked if his (dead) wife had seen the film yet.

    • Esmom says:

      So how did he reply? Just curious.

      These stupid professional interviewers (can’t call them journalists). *shakes head*

      • Linny says:

        He pretty much did the same thing as Martin Short-went along with it in the most gracious way possible. He handled it like a class act.

    • jaye says:

      Jeeeeesuuus…how HARD is it to get BASIC info on an interviewee prior to the interview?

  9. Jayna says:

    Well, it’s not just her doing her homework. There are people behind the scenes who do a lot of the prep. And they have the little things in their ears. No one caught it, not just her.

    Having said that, I almost did the exact same thing to a relative I’n our extended family I never see at a reunion. It was on the tip of my tongue to ask about her husband — who had died. In the conversation right before I asked a out him she mentioned her deceased husband. Whew. I was mortified even thinking about it. Major brain freeze I had. I feel for Kathy. It’s on tape so she can’t even minimie in her mind that it wasn’t that bad. It was. She asked a lot of questions about her.

    But Martin is one of the classiest men, thinking of her and not trying to embarrass her. She’s right. Bs handled it with grace and kindness.

  10. Tina says:

    There is no defending this drunk witch in any way. If you actually watch the interview you’d see her going on and on like she’s the best of friends with him and his wife Nancy when thats obviously a lie. That’s what is despicable about her, that she is a phony name dropper acting like she’s tight with everyone she interviews. She is very lucky she happened to be interviewing one of the nicest guys on the planet.

  11. Kaboom says:

    What a pro, he didn’t skip a beat.

    • Ethel says:

      So true. His eyes may have registered a small shade of sadness, but he moved right along with it. I LOVE this guy. He’s a true Canadian.

  12. Cameron says:

    I’m sorry there’s no excuse.. They should’ve done their research before interviewing a guest.. I give it up to Martin Short who kept his composure. I would have embarrassed her on National TV. However, two weeks earlier they questioned Jordin Sparks about dating Jason Derulo but didn’t know that Martin Short wife died from Ovarian cancer. No excuse.

  13. Boo says:

    I have nothing but respect for Martin Short and his handling of this terrible situation. I also have nothing but contempt for Kathie Lee. That is inexcusable. The way she prattles on, pretending to be everyone’s best friend…what a phony baloney fvck up she is!

  14. DeltaJuliet says:

    I don’t feel sorry for HER. I’m embarrassed for her; I feel sorry for him.

    Seriously, do your research before an interview. And as for Martin, I have a newfound respect for him (I’ve always liked him anyway). To make it a point not to make her look stupid, and also to still show so much love for his wife….I just want to hug him.

  15. ZZZ says:

    I LOVE Martin Short so much. Always have, always will. 36 years is incredible, and I felt SO bad. You can see how much it still hurts like hell.

    I was shocked when she got back on the air. WHO watches her? EW. Never liked her, and hope she gets fired.

    Ed Grimley is one of the funniest characters ever and one I will never forget.

    • valleymiss says:

      Agreed – I love Martin, too. One of my very favorite underrated 80s comedies was The Three Amigos. LOVE that flick!

    • EmmaStoneWannabe says:

      I know! Esp love him as Frank (pronounced “Fronk”) in both Father of the Bride movies. Completely hilarious every moment!

  16. Gal says:

    Someone (maybe an assistant?) should let her know they have this thing called the internet and you can look up anything to find out about anything. It’s cool. She could’ve done her research in about two minutes.

  17. Tmbg says:

    What a truly kind man he is. I didn’t know his wife had died either, and I’m always reading celebrity news. *gulp*

    Anyway, wouldn’t a quick scan of Wikipedia before interviews be a good idea?

  18. really says:

    There aren’t many people in The Biz whom I hate more than friggin’ Kathie Lee.
    There aren’t many people in The Biz whom I love more than Martin Short.
    You do the math 🙂

  19. Mitch Buchanan Rocks says:

    That was very sad and must have been painful for Martin – very disrespectful on Kathie Lees part to be so flippant about this.

  20. maggs says:

    She is interviewing Liam Neeson today, hope she did her research and doesn’t ask how Natasha Richardson is doing, dumb bitch

  21. MJ says:

    “Hmmm, that was a VERY DECENT move by Mr. Short, I must say!”

    • ZZZ says:

      Awww, I love this comment, I must say!! Thanks! ☻

      • EscapedConvent says:

        Ed Grimley was such a sweet character & I miss seeing him. Who but Martin Short could have come up with such a man?

        I also think most people would lose their jobs over such an embarrassing screw-up.

  22. Jan says:

    Thats what happens when you start drinking at 7:15 in the morning. Cow.

  23. fabgrrl says:

    I’ve always found Martin Short rather annoying and just not that funny (at least, not since Three Amigos), but wow, class and composure! I am very impressed with him.

  24. mel says:

    What a gentleman…and you know heads rolled after this segment.

    • Granger says:

      Yes, but WHOSE head? If it’s anyone but Kathy’s, that’s not fair. Just goes to show how fluffy she is. Nobody could ever take this bimbo seriously as a “journalist.”

  25. Rita says:

    Yes, Kathy messed up but it’s terrific that Martin’s class and dignity over shadowed her blunder. A big tip of the hat to Martin….even though I don’t wear one.

  26. Gene Parmesan says:

    Shes so lucky he was gracious and kind about it. You can see his face when he answers her, he seemed shocked and sad of course. I want to slap her for that!

  27. Listerino says:

    Poor guy. It’s hard enough coping with the loss of a loved one than having stupid people ask questions like this.
    He handled it better than I would have.

  28. littlestar says:

    Oh wow, I just love Martin Short and this makes me admire him even more! I was so excited to find out he was going to be a judge on Canada’s Got Talent (for you American’s out there who might not know that), and he ended up being such a fantastic, fair judge on the show. He is truly a great comedic actor, and is not given enough credit for his talents. I’d love to see him in more comedies! Remember how hilarious he was in Father of the Bride?

  29. Bobby the K says:

    His work and everyone else’s was great on SCTV. That’s what i’m most familiar with.

    Kelly is so professional she can seem excited, interested and best friends with people she doesn’t really know or care about.

    But there’s no real cosmetic value in doing the work of a google search, or getting someone else to do it. No real motivation.

    This wasn’t a ‘mistake’, and she’s way over compensated for her ‘work’.

    Martin short is tight with Letterman, Paul Schaeffer, Steve Martin et. al. that’s his show biz family. They give him support and love.

  30. Heebeegeebee says:

    I really do think she should be fired over this. Just because MS is incredibly gracious, she doesn’t have to face consequences?? Think of how much money she makes, and clearly with little effort. Inexcusable.

  31. Anon says:

    Boo said it all.

  32. CM says:

    I’ve always had a good feeling about Martin Short being a nice guy, in addition to a hilarious comedian. My personal favorites of his movies are ‘Innerspace’, ‘The Three Amigos’ and ‘Father of the Bride’. It was truly classy of him to be so gracious with Kathie Lee, not to mention endearing that he’s still ‘madly in love’ with his wife, may she rest in peace.

  33. ssa says:

    She’s horrible

  34. Lisa says:

    Oof. Well played, I must say.

  35. atorontogal says:

    He is one Canadian performer I am very proud of! He is a class act all the way always has been. As for Kathie Lee she is an out of touch booze hound. WTF does she have a show anymore???

  36. Michele says:

    How sad. I always liked Martin Short. I knew he was happily married for a long time but I had no idea his wife passed away recently. He handled this unfortunate situation with grace.

  37. Marie White says:

    Hats off to Martin for his classy act, but Kathy Gifford is a mess.

    She is an overbearing, know-it-all, who thinks she knows it all, is always right, and try to get a word in edgewise. She’s losing the battle of age, not hard to see no matter how much botox she gets.

    She should be fired, as she wouldn’t let an assistant get away with that. Come down to Earth Kathie Lee. Your life has been a mess, so don’t think that you know everything about everyone else.

    I have a family member just like her, and she causes more problems, or I should say all the big issues in our family. People like that are very insecure, so they act like know-it-all’s, to cover up their insecurities. It isn’t the first time over the years that she’s made a fool of herself, and I”m SURE it won’t be the last…..go home to your so called perfect family. Leave professionalism to the professionals. I’d be embarassed to work with you.

  38. jferber says:

    I’ve always hated no-talent Kathie Lee and this just confirms it. Stupid, sloppy cow. And in NO WAY do I feel sorry for her. My sympathy goes to poor Martin Short. I do hope he finds love in his life again. This reminds me of Gene Wilder (who also seems like a very gentle man) when he lost his wife, Gilda Radner. Unspeakably sad, but he did later re-marry (Gilda told him to do so on her deathbed).

  39. Trish says:

    he is a typical, classy, gracious, Canadian gentleman….. he may play silly characters, but who he truly is was clearly shown.

  40. skuddles says:

    Gifford is a dumbass bitch to interview Short and not know his wife is deceased!

    Short, on the other hand, was the epitome of class and grace… and his comment about still being madly in love with his wife brought tears to my eyes – what a sweet guy.

  41. Marianne says:

    This is why fact checkers should do their work. I don’t think this makes Kathie a b****. It was an honest mistake, but she does come off as stupid.

    But at least Martin answered it gracefully.

  42. UniqJaz says:

    He is a great person for correcting her during break in order to not embarrass her on tv.

  43. Marie says:

    So younger ones like Rhianna and Megan Fox, Chris Brown either walk away from or shut interviews for less. Even Billy Bob Thorton and older ones will have hissyfits (BB lost it when asked about his film career while promoting his music in Canada). Love you Martin, from Canada.

  44. Michelle says:

    I have never like Kathie Lee, even when she was on Live!. She is washed up and makes a fool of herself by the way she acts. You wouldn’t see Matt Lauer making a mistake like this!

    Kudos to Martin Short for being a gracious person about it; I certainly wouldn’t have. I would have ripped her a new asshole right there on live TV.

  45. Lucy says:

    So someone looked up that he was married 36 years but no one saw that the poor woman was deceased? Pitiful.

    Martin was wonderful here <3

  46. sup says:

    aww, he’s just a nice dude

  47. Meanchick says:

    For her to not have done any research based on the questions she asked Mr.Short is so unprofessional. That’s something we learned day 1 of J-School.

  48. mia says:

    I just watched Inner Space yesterday. Its funny and I like his shtick.

    I saw him several years ago on tv doing Ed Grimley and it was hysterical. I guess that makes me one of his fans!