Stephen Colbert Opens Up About Childhood Tragedy

Stephen Colbert Opens Up About Childhood Tragedy

One of the funniest men in America is opening up about an unimaginable family tragedy.

Comedian Stephen Colbert talked to Oprah about a 1974 plane crash that took the lives of his father and his two brothers. In all, 72 people were killed in the accident. Colbert was just 10 years old and the youngest of 11 children when he lost his dad and two brothers.

Colbert said, “I didn't really feel the loss until I was in college. Then I was in bad shape. I went into college at about 185 pounds, by the end of my Freshman year I was 135. I was just so sad about it."

The plane carrying the Colbert family members went down in heavy fog just short of the runway in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's something he rarely talks about, but Colbert told David Letterman Monday night how Oprah got it out of him.

"She gets that oyster knife right into your soul and cracks you right open," Colbert said.

Colbert has talked about the need to make his mother laugh after she lost her husband and two children as the inspiration for his comedy. When his beloved 91-year-old mother, Lorna became sick earlier this year, Colbert shut down production of his show so he could be by her side.

Colbert's been on a publicity tour for his new book, America Again, which is in 3-D. It is full of laughs that helped him heal from a childhood tragedy that he lives with everyday.