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David Breener died today [on] hospice at his New York City home, with his family by his side. Brenner had been battling cancer. The stand-up comedian was 78. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; sons Cole, Wyatt and Slade; and grandson Wesley.

Born Feb. 4, 1936, David Brenner was a child of Philadelphia through and through. Graduated from West Philadelphia High School, he has said he was lost and drifting before he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served for a year and a half. He then matriculated to Temple University — where as he described it on his Facebook page, he “Studied All the female students” before a taking his honors degree in mass communication and going into a career making documentaries.

Brenner was the most frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1970s and 1980s, and was a pioneer in the genre of observational comedy.

Brenner’s final request: To place $100 in small bills in his left sock upon burial, “just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going.”

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