05/30/2012 02:33 pm ET Updated May 30, 2012

Kathie Lee Gifford Awkwardly Asks Martin Short About His Dead Wife (VIDEO)

Kathie Lee Gifford walked into a cringe-worthy live TV gaffe on "Today" Wednesday morning, when she asked actor and comedian Martin Short about the state of his marriage. Gifford seemed oblivious to the fact that Short's wife Nancy Dolman passed away nearly two years ago.

Intending to pay Short a compliment, Gifford said, “And he and Nancy have got one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?” Short seemed taken aback but did his best to deal with the awkward question gracefully. He answered, “We, uh, married 36 years.”

Short's late wife Nancy Dolman reportedly battled ovarian cancer in her final years, although a coroner confirmed she died of natural causes.

The gaffe, though embarrassing for Gifford, is not unprecedented in recent daytime TV history. Elisabeth Hasselbeck made a similar mistake in a 2010 interview with actor Stanley Tucci on "The View," when she asked if his wife, who had passed away six months earlier, had seen "The Lovely Bones."

A blogger for Gossip Cop called the interview "really, really painful to watch." Gifford realized her blunder during the commercial break and issued an on-air apology during the following segment.

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