Johnny Carson (1925 – 2005)

After inviting him into our homes for over 30 years, the absolute untouchable king of latenight – Johnny Carson, has lost his battle with emphysema and passed away on the morning of Sunday the 23rd of January.He was 79.For more on his life, click forward…

From — Johnny Carson, host of NBC’s “The Tonight Show” for nearly 30 years, died Sunday of emphysema.”He passed away this morning,” Carson’s nephew, Jeffrey Sotzing, told CNN.The long-time smoker was 79 and had announced in 2002 that he was suffering from the disease.Carson hosted the late-night talk show from October 1, 1962, to May 22, 1992, taking over from Jack Paar and handing off to Jay Leno.”The Carson show changed your life,” comedian Joan Rivers said. “If Carson liked you, you were set. He got the bright comics. He picked the ones who were different, who were smart.”Born John William Carson on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, he is survived by his fourth wife, Alexis, and sons Christopher and Cory from his first marriage, to Jody Wolcott. Another son, Richard, died in a car accident in 1991.Carson began his show business career as a teenaged magician and ventriloquist before serving in the Navy during World War II.After the Navy, he attended the University of Nebraska, graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.While still in college, Carson took a job as an announcer with KFAB in Lincoln, Nebraska, and two years later moved to Los Angeles, California, where he took an announcer’s job at KNXT-TV.A year later, the boyish-looking budding comedian had his own show — “Carson’s Cellar” — 15 minutes of poking fun at the news, for which Carson persuaded stars of the 1940s and 1950s to appear for free.In the midst of the show’s run, famed clown Red Skelton hired Carson as a writer — and even put him on as host on live television when Skelton was injured during a rehearsal.”The Johnny Carson Show” spent 39 weeks on CBS from 1955 to 1956, then he moved to New York, where he hosted ABC’s game show “Who Do You Trust?” and met Ed McMahon, who became Carson’s sidekick until his retirement from “The Tonight Show” 35 years later.Under Carson, “The Tonight Show” earned 42 Emmy nominations, winning seven trophies. Carson picked up a Golden Globe nomination in 1975, three years after moving the show from New York to Hollywood.Carson was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1987, five years before he left “The Tonight Show.” An estimated 50 million people watched his final broadcast in 1992.President George H.W. Bush awarded Carson the Medal of Freedom on December 11, 1992, and the following year he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award.

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