Johnny Carson, King of Late Night, Dies


How sad. :( Another legend gone. Thankfully he went peacefully, surrounded by family.

Johnny Carson, King of Late Night, Dies

Sunday, January 23, 2005
By JEFF WILSON, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - Johnny Carson (news), the "Tonight Show" TV host who served America a smooth nightcap of celebrity banter, droll comedy and heartland charm for 30 years, has died. He was 79.

"Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told The Associated Press. "He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable. There will be no memorial service." Sotzing would not give further details, including the time of death or the location.

The boyish-looking Nebraska native with the disarming grin, who survived every attempt to topple him from his late-night talk show throne, was a star who managed never to distance himself from his audience.

His wealth, the adoration of his guests — particularly the many young comics whose careers he launched — the wry tales of multiple divorces: Carson's air of modesty made it all serve to enhance his bedtime intimacy with viewers.

"Heeeeere's Johnny!" was the booming announcement from sidekick Ed McMahon that ushered Carson out to the stage. Then the formula: the topical monologue, the guests, the broadly played skits such as "Carnac the Magnificent."

But America never tired of him; Carson went out on top when he retired in May 1992. In his final show, he told his audience: "And so it has come to this. I am one of the lucky people in the world. I found something that I always wanted to do and I have enjoyed every single minute of it."

His personal life could not match the perfection of his career. Carson was married four times, divorced three. In 1991, one of his three sons, 39-year-old Ricky, was killed in a car accident.

Nearly all of Carson's professional life was spent in television, from his postwar start at Nebraska stations in the late 1940s to his three decades with NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

Carson choose to let "Tonight" stand as his career zenith and his finale, withdrawing into a quiet retirement that suited his private nature and refusing involvement in other show business projects.

In 1993, he explained his absence from the limelight. "I have an ego like anybody else," Carson told The Washington Post, "but I don't need to be stoked by going before the public all the time."


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In May 1972, the Tonight Show was permanently moved from New
York to Burbank, California. It was also around this time
that Carson started cutting back on his appearances.

He would now do the show only four nights per week, leaving the Monday night show to a guest host. The most frequent guest hosts during the first 21 years were:

Joey Bishop (177 times)
Joan Rivers (93 times)
Bob Newhart (87 times)
John Davidson (87 times)
David Brenner (70 times)
McLean Stevenson (58 times)
Jerry Lewis (52 times)
David Letterman (51 times).

Joan Rivers was the "permanent" (and only) guest host from September 1983 until 1986. The Tonight Show reverted to various guest hosts after Joan left, with Jay Leno the most frequent. Leno then became the exclusive guest host in the fall of 1987, a position he held for the remainder of Johnny's rein.

Johnny's final telecast was a national event. A quiet reminicence (without big-name guests) about the shows golden moments over the past 30 years. Many, however, felt that the next-to-the-last show was the best; in it, Bette Midler sang a wistfully comic love song to Johnny that expressed what most viewers felt, THERE WOULD NEVER BE ANOTHER QUITE LIKE HIM!


(This was from

Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient Johnny Carson

Awarded by
President George Bush
December 11, 1992

One of America's greatest television personalities, Johnny Carson left the Nebraska plains to preside over late night TV for almost 30 years. With a quick wit and a sure golf swing, Johnny's good-natured humor kept the pulse of the Nation, and assured us that even in the most difficult times, it was still okay to laugh. The United States honors Johnny Carson, who personifies the heart and humor of America.


Birthdate: October 23, 1925
Birthplace: Corning, IA
Occupations: Actor, Comedian, TV/radio host
Claim to Fame: Host of The Tonight Show (1961-1992)

Significant Other(s):
Wife: Joan Carson Buckley (nee Wolcott), aka Jody Carson; married 1949; divorced 1963 (Carson obtained a Mexican divorce); born in 1926; married art director Don Buckley in 1970-73; lost 1990 suit to increase her 1970 alimony award; met at the University of Nebraska where she was an art major; worked as Carson's assistant in the magic act that he performed in American Legion halls across the country
Wife: Joanne Carson (nee Copeland); married August 1963; divorced 1972; born c. 1932; earned Ph.D in nutrition after divorce; reportedly received a lump sum of $160,000, an art collection and $75,000 per week as divorce settlement
Wife: Joanna Carson (nee Holland); born in 1941; married 1972; divorced 1983; received $20 million in cash and property in divorce settlement from Carson
Wife: Alexis Carson (nee Mass), aka Alex Carson, former secretary; married June 20, 1987; born in 1950; reportedly met Carson while strolling by his Malibu beach house

Grandfather: Christopher Carson
Father: Homer Carson, aka Kit Carson, Power company manager; deceased
Mother: Ruth Carson (nee Hook), Housewife; died 1985
Sibling: Has one older sibling
Brother: Dick Carson, Director; director of Wheel of Fortune; younger than Carson
Son: Christopher Carson, Golf pro; born in 1950; mother Jody Wolcott
Son: Richard Wolcott Carson, aka Rick Carson; born June 1952; died in car accident June 21, 1991; mother Jody Wolcott
Son: Cory Carson, Guitarist; born in 1953; mother Jody Wolcott

American Guild of Variety Artists Entertainer of the Year Award.
1975/76: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement for The Tonight Show.
1976/77: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program Achievement for The Tonight Show.
1977/78: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program Achievement for The Tonight Show.
Emmy for Outstanding Program Achievement-Special Class for The Tonight Show. Shared award.
1979/80: Emmy for Third Annual Atas Governor's Award.
1992: American Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award.
1992: Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1993: Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award.


Staff member
oh I was sad !! He was a good actor and we watched him !!
May he rest in peace
God Bless



Lucky Member
How sad... he launched Jerry Seinfeld, and we know what Jerry launched later...

Rest in peace Johnny.



Amos Stevens

New Member
I was surprised to find this news when I got online..I didn't watch him much but wondered about why he retired-if it was due to his best wishess to his family


Steven Seagal Fan
My heart and prayers goes out to his family. This is sad I just saw it online before I got here. I used to watch him most of the time.
Thank you for putting that in here Serena.


Yes another one gone and its am shame too because i used to love watching his shows
i bet his freind Ed Mcmahan (sorry if spelling is wrong) will miss him terribly...and i wish to pass on my condolences to his will always be the king of the tonight shows Mr. Johnny Carson..R.I.P..........


Johnny Carson dead at 79.

It is sad to see one of the great men in show business die. We all have to go and meet our maker one day, yes I understand this, it just seems too fast when it's someone we like/love alot.
According the news story I read on it, Carson died of Emphazima [spelling], as he smoked heavily much of his life. Maybe suffering from that is why he decided to give up the show years ago when he did to spend his remaing days with his family more. That of course is just an assumption, but it seems accurate enough to me.
I also assume the sir liked him, respected or something like that as I noticed he had him on the tv in the movie Hard to Kill when he was recouperating in the house.
I always liked Jonny Carson as a rugrat, I was sad to see him quit the show, although I do like Jay Leno too. Did you guys hear that Conan O'Brien is to take over the show from Leno in about 5 years?
Anyway's, God Bless Johnny Carson, he has been and will be missed much.


Incarnation complete
Also a certain artist one Mr Frank Kelly at the tender age of 82 has passed away.He designed posters for NASA,illustrated covers for books by Issac Asimov and created the difinitive portraits of 'MAD' magazine's mascot, Alfred E Newman,originally drawn by Norman Mingo.

Amos Stevens

New Member
Here is Frank Kellys official web site-Jace:

Artist Frank Kelly Freas, 84

Myrna Oliver
Los Angeles Times
Jan. 5, 2005 12:00 AM

LOS ANGELES - Frank Kelly Freas, artist and illustrator who earned 10 Hugo awards for his imaginative science fiction illustrations and helped refine the iconic satirical smirk of Mad magazine's Alfred E. Newman, has died. He was 84.

Freas died Sunday in his sleep of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, according to his wife, Laura.

The versatile artist bridged the worlds of science fiction and science, cartoons and art. He designed astronauts' crew patches and posters for NASA, and his works were exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution and New York's American Museum of Natural History. But he was far more at ease, and greatly revered, in the world of pop and pulp art. advertisement

One of Freas' most durable illustrations has been a 1953 Astounding magazine cover for Tom Godwin's science fiction short story The Gulf Between, depicting a giant robot holding a dead man in the palm of his hand. In 1977, the artist was asked to repaint the illustration as an album cover for the rock group Queen's blockbuster News of the World, with the robot holding bloodied members of the band.

Freas reprised the original version as the cover of his own well-received 2001 book, Frank Kelly Freas: As He Sees It. The artist's other books include The Art of Science Fiction in 1977 and A Separate Star in 1985.

As for the little gap-toothed Newman, Freas considered his contribution "giving him a personality."

Alfred E. Newman, originally created by Mingo and based on a smiling dunce popular in 19th-century advertisements, was frequently drawn by Freas when he worked as Mad magazine cover artist from 1955 through 1962.

Copyright © 2005,


candle lighter
Carson will be missed. Used to watch him all the time. Jay Leno had a few clips and I laughed myself silly watching them, esp the one with the Ed Amos hatchet "mistake". None of the late night show hosts can even compare to Carson. I was also a big fan of Red Skelton - used to come in from playing outdoors to watch him. Danny Kaye was also another fave of mine, as were Bob Hope, Abbott and Costello ["Who's On First?"] The "old" comedians could make us laugh without using obscene phrases - they were the best.