It was one of the most cringe-worthy moments in TV history, Today Show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford questioned Martin Short about his wife and their marriage — not realizing she was dead.

Short was on the show to promote his new film, Madagascar 3, and listened calmly as Gifford asked, “And you and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?”

He didn’t correct her, but kindly answered, “We … have … married … 36 years.”

But Kathie Lee didn’t stop.  She asked “But you are still like, in love?” And when Short said “Madly in love, madly in love,” She asked “Why?”

After the show, when she found out that Short was a widower — his beloved wife Nancy Dolman succommbed to ovarian cancer in 2010  — Gifford went on Twitter to apologize.

Short’s spokeswoman said, “Marty never even addressed it with us, he just moved right along. We appreciate if everyone else might do the same so as not to make a huge deal about it either.”

Actually, I can feel Kathie Lee’s pain. I’ve had my share of awkward on-air moments over the years. For instance, when I left Detroit in 1985 (not my choice, but the job ended – sadly) I went to do mornings in Houston. First month at the new gig I had an interview with the city’s fine mayor. “Please welcome to the show, the fine mayor of the city of Detroit!” Cue sound of crickets. Unfortunately for me, Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire was not separated at birth from Coleman Young. Oops.


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