The Tonight Show
(TV show)
Jay Leno
(Movies & TV)
David Letterman
(Movies & TV)
Ed McMahon
(Movies & TV)
Merv Griffin

See also

Johnny Carson

Knowledge Identifier: +Johnny_Carson


Johnny Carson

American television host and comedian, known for thirty years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson add

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1925.

Countries: United States (67%), California (14%), United Kingdom (4%)

Education: undef.

Main connections: The Tonight Show, Jay Leno, California

Linked to: Comedy Central, Columbia University, DeLorean Motor Company, Meredith Corporation




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Johnny Carson was born in 1925 add something


He began his broadcasting career in 1950 at WOW radio and television in Omaha, Nebraska, Nebraska add something


Dick Clark - Clark and McMahon were longtime Philadelphia acquaintances, and McMahon praised Clark for first bringing him together with future TV partner Johnny Carson when all three worked at ABC in the late 1950s


In 1951 Carson visited California and unsuccessfully sought work add something


In 1953 comic Red Skelton — a fan of Carson's "cult success" low-budget sketch comedy show, "Carson's Cellar" on KNXT — asked Carson to join his show as a writer add something


Originating in 1953 with host Steve Allen, "Tonight" was somewhat experimental at the time, as the only previous network late-night program was NBC's "Broadway Open House" add something


In 1954 Skelton during rehearsal accidentally knocked himself unconscious an hour before his live show began, and Carson successfully filled in for him add something


In 1955, Jack Benny invited Carson to appear on one of his programs during the opening and closing segments add something


Edgar Bergen - Bergen hosted the television game show "Do You Trust Your Wife-" in 1956-57, later succeeded, in a daytime edition, by Johnny Carson


The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Jack Paar hosted the show from 1957 to 1962, but the show's longest-running and most famous host was Johnny Carson, who hosted the show for three decades


In 1958 he appeared as a guest star in an episode entitled "Do You Trust Your Wife" on NBC's short-lived variety show, "The Polly Bergen Show" add something


Paul Anka wrote the theme song, , a reworking of his "Toot Sweet"; given lyrics, it was renamed, "It's Really Love," and recorded by Annette Funicello in 1959 add something


Although his show was already successful by the end of the 1960s, during the 1970s Carson became an American icon and remained so until his retirement in 1992 add something


The United States Steel Hour - In 1960 Johnny Carson starred with Anne Francis in the presentation "Queen of the Orange Bowl"


Gloria Swanson - Through the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, Swanson appeared on many and various talk and variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show in 1973 and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to recollect on her films and to lampoon them as well.


He was a regular panelist on the original "To Tell the Truth" until 1962 add something


Carson accepted in March 1962 but had six months left on his ABC contract, during which NBC used multiple guest hosts including Merv Griffin add something


Although he continued to have doubts about his new job, Carson became host of "Tonight" on October 1, 1962, and, after a difficult first year, overcame his fears add something


Doc Severinsen - He actually joined "The Tonight Show Band" several months before Johnny Carson became host in October of 1962


Ed McMahon - He is most famous for his work on television as Johnny Carson's sidekick and announcer on "The Tonight Show" from 1962 to 1992


Betty Johnson - Johnson continued on "Tonight" until 1962 when Paar was replaced by Johnny Carson, while making appearances on a number of other television shows


Tommy Newsom - Newsom joined the band in 1962, and left it when Carson retired in 1992


The Tonight Show - The "Tonight" show has undergone some minor title changes, having aired and being referred to as "Tonight" for several of its early years, before later settling on "The Tonight Show" in 1962, with the seating of long-time host Johnny Carson


Merv Griffin - While Johnny Carson finished his CBS contract before taking over "Tonight" after Paar in October 1962, Griffin was one of the many guest hosts NBC used


Groucho Marx - On October 1, 1962, Groucho, after acting as occasional guest host of "The Tonight Show" during the six-month interval between Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, introduced Carson as the new host


The marriage was volatile, with infidelities committed by both parties, and ended in divorce in 1963 add something


Carson got a "quickie" Mexican divorce from Wolcott that year and married Joanne Copeland on August 17, 1963 add something


Bucky Pizzarelli - In 1964, he became a member of The Tonight Show Band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.


Joey Heatherton - In 1964, she appeared on "The Tonight Show", where she energetically coached Johnny Carson on the finer points of dancing "The Frug


The Tonight Show - After February 1965, Johnny Carson refused to appear until 11:30, and Ed McMahon "hosted" the 11:15 segment


In 1966, Carson popularized Milton Bradley's game Twister when he played it with actress Eva Gabor add something


Milton DeLugg - In 1966, he was briefly musical director of The Tonight Show Band during the tenure of Johnny Carson


Harry Belafonte - From February 5 to 9, 1968, Belafonte guest hosted "The Tonight Show" substituting for Johnny Carson


Merv Griffin - CBS gave Griffin a late-night show opposite Johnny Carson in 1969, a move which proved disastrous


As he explained in 1970, "In my living room I would argue for liberalization of abortion laws, divorce laws, and there are times when I would like to express a view on the air add something


Sydney Omarr - By the 1970s, Omarr appeared on various radio and television shows such as Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson


After July 1971, Carson stopped doing shows five days a week add something


Eddie Lawrence - On February 22, 1971, Eddie appeared as a guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show , performing a five-minute "Old Philosopher" routine at the end of which Carson was laughing loudly and repeating some of its lines and, in 1974, he was heard as the announcer on a television advertisement for John Lennon and Harry Nilsson's album, "Pussy Cats", which included contributions by Ringo Starr and Keith Moon


In May 1972, the show moved from New York to Burbank, California add something


At the Carson "Tonight Show" 10th anniversary party on September 30, 1972, Carson announced that he and former model Joanna Holland had been secretly married that afternoon, shocking his friends and associates add something


Jack Benny - Benny made one of his final television appearances in the fall of 1972 on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" when Carson celebrated his 10th anniversary


The Tonight Show - " Johnny Carson hosted "The Tonight Show" there for ten years before the show was moved to Burbank in 1972


In December 1973, Carson joked on "Tonight" about an alleged shortage of toilet paper add something


Uri Geller - Geller was unable to bend any tableware during a 1973 appearance on "The Tonight Show" in which the spoons he was to bend had been pre-selected by Johnny Carson


Angela Bowie - In 1973, she appeared as a guest on "The Tonight Show", hosted by Johnny Carson on November 16, 1973 alongside Dinah Shore, Joan Rivers and Ashley Montagu


Beginning in 1976, NBC used the Satcom 2 satellite to do this, feeding the live taping directly to New York, where it would be edited prior to the normal broadcast add something


Minnie Riperton - On August 24, 1976, Riperton told Flip Wilson, who was guest-hosting for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show", that she had undergone a mastectomy due to breast cancer


Carson was shown on a 1978 segment of "60 Minutes" practicing at home on a drum set given to him by close friend Buddy Rich, who was the jazz musician with the most appearances on "The Tonight Show" add something


The first was KVVU-TV in Henderson, Nevada, Nevada, an independent station serving Las Vegas, acquired by the Carson group in 1979 add something


Carson and his production staff grew concerned about this, and pressured NBC into ceasing the satellite transmissions of the live taping in the early 1980s add something


Carson often joked about "beautiful downtown Burbank, California" and referred to "beautiful downtown Bakersfield, California," which prompted Mayor Mary K. Shell to chide Carson and invite him to her city to see improvements made during the early 1980s add something


On September 8, 1980, at Carson's request, the show cut its 90-minute format to 60 minutes; Tom Snyder's "Tomorrow" added a half hour to fill the vacant time add something


Sonny Tufts - Years after Tuft's death, during the 1980s, he became known as one of the semi-random people and places that TV host Johnny Carson used in his jokes on "The Tonight Show"


In 1981, Carson created the John W. Carson Foundation, dedicated to supporting children, education and health services add something


Carson's second station, independent KNAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, New Mexico was purchased in 1982 add something


In 1982, Carson was found to be driving his DeLorean while under the influence of alcohol add something


Bill Maher - Thanks to Steve Allen, he began appearing on Johnny Carson's and David Letterman's shows in 1982


On March 8, 1983, Holland filed for divorce add something


Joan Rivers became the "permanent" guest host from September 1983 until 1986 add something


Bette Davis - Bette Davis told Johnny Carson in a 1983 interview on "The Tonight Show" that as an actress, she wanted to be remembered as being a "good worker


Carson received six Emmy awards, the Governor award, and a 1985 Peabody award add something


Carson sold both of his stations between 1985 and 1986, with KVVU going to Meredith Corporation and KNAT being sold to Trinity Broadcasting Network add something


Michaele Vollbracht - The company folded in 1985 due to Vollbracht having accepted financial backing from Johnny Carson, which was withdrawn during Carson's bitter divorce from his third wife


Rivers's show on the Fox Network directly competed with Carson during the 1986-1987 season and ended add something


Jay Leno became the exclusive guest host in fall 1987 add something


He was inducted into the "Television Academy Hall of Fame" in 1987 add something


On June 20, 1987, Carson married Alexis Maas add something


James Stewart - In the documentary film James Stewart: A Wonderful Life, hosted by Johnny Carson, Stewart said that he went back to Westerns in 1950 in part because a string of films that were flops.


Jay Leno - Starting in 1987, Leno was a regular substitute host for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show"


Richard Carson died on June 21, 1991, when his car plunged down a steep embankment along a paved service road off Highway 1 near Cayucos, California add something


Johnny Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993 add something


The theme is heard being played on sound recordings of Carson's first "Tonight Show" and it was used without interruption through to his very last broadcast in 1992 add something


Carson retired from show business on May 22, 1992, at age 66, when he stepped down as host of "The Tonight Show" add something


In addition, the final image of the show, as well as some "More to Come" bumpers, of Carson's last show on May 22, 1992, featured a photo Richard had taken add something


David Letterman - In 1992, Johnny Carson retired, and many fans believed that Letterman would become host of "The Tonight Show"


Edd Hall - Most famous for his work on television as Jay Leno's announcer on "The Tonight Show" from 1992 to 2004, Hall replaced famed "Tonight Show" announcer Ed McMahon after Johnny Carson's retirement


Bette Midler - Midler won an Emmy Award in 1992 for her performance on the next-to-last episode of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in May 1992, during which she sang an emotion-laden "One for My Baby" to Johnny Carson.


NBC - Some blamed him for losing David Letterman to CBS after giving "The Tonight Show" to Jay Leno following Johnny Carson's May 1992 retirement


CBS - In 1993, the network made a breakthrough in establishing a successful late night talk show franchise to compete with NBC's "The Tonight Show" when it signed David Letterman away from NBC after the "Late Night" host was passed over as Johnny Carson's successor on "Tonight" in favor of Jay Leno


Late Night with David Letterman - Letterman, who had hoped to get the hosting job of "The Tonight Show" following Johnny Carson's retirement, moved to CBS in 1993 when the job was given to Jay Leno


On May 13, 1994, Carson appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" add something


Carson was the first person to contact Sagan's wife Ann Druyan with condolences when the scientist died in 1996 add something


Helen Kushnick - A 1996 HBO TV movie called "The Late Shift" was about the network politics that occurred after the retirement of Johnny Carson from the "The Tonight Show" on NBC


On March 19, 1999, Carson at 73, suffered a severe heart attack at his Malibu, California home add something


The 2005 film "The Aristocrats" was dedicated to Carson add something


The marriage lasted until his death in 2005 add something

Johnny Carson died in 2005 add something


Late Show with David Letterman - In 2005, after the death of Johnny Carson, it was revealed that Carson had made a habit of sometimes sending jokes to Letterman which Letterman would incorporate into his monologues


Late Show with David Letterman - Lassally, who had served as an executive producer for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show", was invited back to "Late Show" in January 2005 as a guest to discuss the recent death of Carson


Ernie Manouse - Another area of broadcasting that Manouse has explored is late night talk, and on February 9, 2005, Manouse launched The After Party, combining arts coverage and light-hearted interviews reminiscent of Johnny Carson and Jack Parr


Writer Gore Vidal, another frequent "Tonight Show" guest and friend, writes about Carson's personality in his 2006 memoirs add something


Lucille Ball - She was *awarded the "Legacy of Laughter" *award at the fifth Annual TV Land *awards in 2007, "I Love Lucy" was named the "Greatest TV Series" by "Hall of Fame Magazine", and "TV Guide" voted her greatest TV star of all time In November of that year, Lucille Ball was chosen as the second out of the "50 Greatest TV Icons", after Johnny Carson


"Pioneers of Television", 9 January 2008 add something


On June 24, 2009, following Ed McMahon's death, Rivers lauded McMahon on "Larry King Live" but said that after she got her own show Carson never spoke to her again add something


David Letterman - Letterman was the first recipient of the Johnny Carson *award for Comedic Excellence at The Comedy *awards in 2011


Late Show with David Letterman - As host of both "Late Night" and "Late Show" for more than 30 years, Letterman surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest running late-night talk show host in 2013


She later had a second marriage that ended in divorce, and died in California, aged 83, in 2015 add something


Carson was praised by President Trump during a June 2018 rally add something