His father and two of his brothers died in a plane crash when he was ten years old. On September 11, 1974, they were on an Eastern Airlines DC-9 that crashed in dense fog during its approach to Charlotte, N.C. Of the 82 people on board, 72 were killed. In its report, the NTSB concluded that "the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew's lack of altitude awareness at critical points during the approach due to poor cockpit discipline in that the crew did not follow prescribed procedures.".
Provided the voice of Ace for "Saturday Night Live" (1975)'s "The Ambiguously Gay Duo" segments. The voice of Gary is provided by fellow "The Daily Show" (1996) correspondent Steve Carell.
He was briefly a correspondent on "Good Morning America" (1975).
An alumnus of the Second City and Annoyance Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Graduated from Northwestern University in 1986.
Most of the shows he has been a part of are on Comedy Central. These shows are "Exit 57" (1995), "The Daily Show" (1996), "Strangers with Candy" (1999), and "The Colbert Report" (2005).
Is a huge Lord of the Rings fan and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the series. Specifically recited the entire biography of LOTR character Aragorn from memory when Viggo Mortensen appeared on "The Daily Show" (1996). Mortensen kindly sent Colbert a platter full of LOTR characters carved out of chocolate.
Occasionally replaced Jon Stewart as anchor of "The Daily Show" (1996) while Jon was occupied with other things.
All of his three children have appeared on "The Daily Show" (1996).
Worked alongside Louis C.K., Charlie Kaufman and Robert Smigel on the writing staff of "The Dana Carvey Show" (1996).
Good friends with fellow former "The Daily Show" (1996) correspondent Steve Carell
Wrote the book Wigfield with "Strangers with Candy" (1999) costars Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello.
Was included in the Peabody Award given to [error] and "The Daily Show: Indecision 2002: Election Night (#7.55)" (2002) for "offering biting political satire, these scintillating segments had something droll and amusing to say about almost everything and everyone associated with American politics and the presidential election.".
Voiced several characters on Comedy Central's "Crank Yankers" (2002).
"Truthiness," a word he coined, was declared the Word of the Year 2005 by the American Dialect Society.
His show, "The Colbert Report" (2005), averages 1.2 million viewers.
Lent his voice to some attack ads that were used for the The 78th Annual Academy Awards (2006) (TV), hosted by Jon Stewart.
Received an honorary doctorate in fine arts by Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, in 2006.
In January 2008, Colbert began a campaign on his show to have a portrait of his character hung in the "Treasures of American History" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC (pieces shown in that exhibit included a top hat worn by' Abraham Lincoln', an original light bulb made by Thomas A. Edison, a Greensboro, North Carolina, lunch counter that was the scene of a seminal civil rights sit-in, Lewis and Clark's compass, and Kermit the Frog). When the National Museum of American History refused the portrait, Colbert next offered it to the National Portrait Gallery (also a Smithsonian museum), which accepted it on a temporary basis and hung it between the bathrooms adjacent to the Hall of Presidents. After the portrait's term at the National Portrait Gallery was up, the National Museum of American History did agree to hang the portrait - next to a Dumbo car from the original Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland.