Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Separated at birth? Letterman's double a Manitoba mayor

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Smallest-town mayor in Manitoba? Meet the biggest man in late-night television... and he might look mighty familiar.

On Monday night's episode of his iconic Late Show, host David Letterman was wrapping up a comedic bit on "small-town news" when he introduced his audience to someone who, he said, looked like himself.

The surprising -- and surprised -- doppelganger: the man at the helm of the province's tiniest incorporated municipality.

"The mayor of Waskada, Manitoba, Gary Williams, he kinda looks like me," Letterman said, propping up a copy of a Winnipeg Free Press article featuring Williams' photo for the audience to see. "There ya go, he kinda looks like me."

Williams wasn't tuned in to CBS for his 15 minutes (or 15 seconds?) of international fame. The mayor, in Winnipeg this week for the annual Association of Manitoba Municipalities convention, heard the news from a friend who caught the clip.

That friend just happened to be taping the show. Good thing, because this is a milestone worth remembering. "It's my first time on David Letterman!" Williams chuckled. "I'll thank the Free Press... it was a good story at the time, and now we have some more good coverage out of it."

Last summer, the Free Press ran a story on little municipalities that featured Waskada, which has a population of only 199 people and a mini oil boom. While giving reporter Mary Agnes Welch a tour of the village, Williams -- who says Waskada embraces its "smallest municipality" title with pride -- leaned against a street sign for photographer Ruth Bonneville to snap a shot.

That photo ended up smack-dab on the front of a July 17 section of the Free Press.

Williams doesn't know who sent a copy of the article to the Late Show. Nor does he know anyone who thinks he looks like Letterman... other than the talk-show host himself, apparently.

"That's a new one to me," a tickled-pink Williams said. "I thought David Letterman is about 6-foot-4 and I'm about 5-foot-8... but I guess someone thought there was a resemblance. There are worse guys to be compared to."

melissa.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 24, 2010 A5

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