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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Late Night Mudd-slinging

While interviewing Harrison Ford last month, Jay Leno mentioned that former TV newsman Roger Mudd had spent years trying to clear the name of his ancestor Dr. Samuel A. Mudd—imprisoned for tending the wounds John Wilkes Booth suffered the final time he took to the stage.

Trouble is, it wasn't Roger Mudd but Dr. Richard D. Mudd of Saginaw, Michigan, who spent all those years of name-clearing. Dr. Mudd's son couldn't let the error pass, so he sent a letter to Leno, receiving in return a telephoned apology from the Tonight Show host himself.

"He could have had his secretary call," says Thomas B. Mudd, "if anyone called at all, but no. He called me directly and said, 'This is Jay Leno. I want to apologize.'"

This egregious error corrected, Thomas is now steeling himself for the release of Manhunt, a movie in which Ford will hunt for Lincoln's assassin.

"I'm getting ready for battle," Mudd said. "There is not one shred of evidence linking my great-grandfather to a conspiracy plot, and all of this Mudd-bashing is not funny to me." [Link]

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