Stephen Colbert is the funny man that has swept America by storm -- but his life has been beset by tragedy.
We’re only weeks away from when noted TV funnyman Stephen Colbert will take over for the legendary David Letterman on the Late Show on CBS, and while many in America are already familiar with him, many more probably don’t know about his difficult past.
Don’t expect the satirical character Colbert played on Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” — the new Colbert is playing it straight, albeit not too straight, according to a CBS News report.
Now 51, Colbert has made the rounds promoting the show, including showing up for a public-access program in Monroe, Michigan, with rapper Eminem, and appearing on the cover of GQ magazine.
Colbert was born in Washington D.C. as the youngest of 11 kids in a Catholic family, growing up in Charleston, South Carolina.
It was in 1974, when Colbert was just 10 years of age, that tragedy struck. His father and his two brothers Peter and Paul were on Eastern Air Lines Flight 212, which crashed while trying to land in Charlotte. The boys were headed to Canterbury School in Connecticut to enroll. The young Colbert was devastated by the loss of his father and brothers, and he described himself as detached after his family relocated to Charleston. It was during this time that he discovered J.R.R. Tolkein and became a huge Lord of the Rings fan, being uninterested in the things most kids appeared to concern themselves with. He also enjoyed role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, which he said was an early experience in acting and improvisation.
But comedy wasn’t what he intended to get into. Instead, he planned to study marine biology, but he suffered from a perforated eardrum that needed repair, which prevented him from anything involving scuba diving. He is deaf in his right ear as a result.