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Martin Short shows grace at Kathie Lee's dead-wife faux pas

Comedian and actor Martin Short is adept at humor, but he demonstrated some serious courtesy in a May 30th TV interview.

Presumably aiming at complimenting the 62-year-old Short for his loving marriage, the “Today” show’s Kathie Lee Gifford made this comment:

“[Martin Short] and [his wife] Nancy [Dolman] have got one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?” Gifford asked.

Short answered, “We – uh – married 36 years.”

“But you’re still, like, in love,” Gifford gushed.

“Madly in love,” Short replied with a shrug, without missing a beat. “Cute. I’m cute,” he said.

Hello? Awkward!

Canadian actress Nancy Dolman, Martin Short’s wife, died nearly two years ago after a battle with ovarian cancer.

Learning that, Gifford apologized on-air and on Twitter.

Here’s Gifford’s recent “Today” show interview with Short:

How would you have answered such an awkward question?

Many people come up with snippy comebacks for inappropriate or ignorant questions. What do we do, when someone steps over the line, perhaps without meaning to do so?

Short’s response was simple, direct, and actually adorable. Without attacking Gifford, or trying to teach her a moral lesson about doing advance research on her celebrity television guests, he responded with poise, grace, and perhaps even a little sweet humor.

The popular comic showed both courtesy and class, grace and quiet grief, paying tribute to his beloved late wife without dishonoring his erring television host.

Gifford is not alone in the awkward moment department, of course.

A couple of years ago, Elizabeth Hasselbeck made a similar mistake, interviewing actor Stanley Tucci. Hasselbeck asked Tucci if his wife had seen his latest film, although she had been dead for about six months. In painful irony, Tucci’s movie was titled “The Lovely Bones.”


What’s the worst faux pas you’ve ever encountered?

Has anyone ever inadvertently stepped over the line with an awkward slip-up that embarrassed or offended you? Did someone hurt your feelings without meaning to do so?

How did you react? How do you wish you had responded?

Martin Short’s wife, Nancy Dolman, was surely fortunate during her three-decade marriage to a comic with such character.

Related Items:
Video Screenshot
Kathie Lee Gifford and Martin Short
Nancy Dolman and Martin Photo – Fair Use
Martin Short
Creative Commons Licensing

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