|Occupation:||TV Show Host|
|Height:||179 cm (5' 11'')|
|Birth Day:||October 23, 1925|
|Death Date:||Jan 23, 2005 (age 79)|
|Birth Place:||Corning, United States|
|Height:||179 cm (5' 11'')|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
Also known as the Elvis of hosting, he was an Emmy-winning face of NBC's Tonight show from 1961 to 1992.
As per our current Database, Johnny Carson died on Jan 23, 2005 (age 79).
With the net worth of $300 Million, Johnny Carson is the # 1669 richest person on earth all the time follow our database.
Salary and Philanthropy: In the mid-1970s, Carson was the highest-paid television personality in show business, earning approximately $4 million per year. At the peak of his show in 1991, he earned $25 million per year in salary, which is equal to roughly $40 million in today's dollars.
Throughout his life, Johnny privately donated millions of dollars to a wide variety of charities. Upon his death Johnny left the bulk of his fortune to the John W. Carson Foundation. Prior to his death, Johnny had been giving the Johnny Carson Foundation annual gifts of $1 – $2 million. Upon his death, the foundation was told that it was the beneficiary of a trust from Johnny's estate.
The value of the trust remained a secret for five years until his lawyers were required to disclose the assets in an IRS tax return. On August 30, 2010, The Johnny Carson Foundation discovered that the value of their trust fund was worth $156 million. That had been under the impression that the value was a tenth of that amount. Within a few years, the foundation's asset value had grown to over $200 million.
Johnny's will also left $4 million to the Los Angeles Children's Hospital.
Real Estate: In 1984 Johnny paid $9.5 million for a massive home on a cliff above the ocean in Malibu. After his death, Johnny's estate sold the home for $46 million. In 2017 the home popped on the market for $81.5 million.
He worked as a magician and served in the United States Army.
John William Carson was born on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, to Ruth Elizabeth (Hook) Carson (1901–1985) and Homer Lloyd "Kit" Carson (1899–1983), a power company manager. He grew up in the nearby towns of Avoca, Clarinda, and Red Oak in southwest Iowa before moving to Norfolk, Nebraska, at the age of eight. There, Carson grew up and began developing his talent for entertaining. At the age of 12, Carson found a book on magic at a friend's house and immediately purchased a mail-order magician's kit. After the purchase of the kit, Carson practiced his entertainment skills on family members with card tricks. He was known for following his family members around saying, "Pick a card, any card." Carson's mother sewed him a cape, and his first performance was staged in front of the local Kiwanis Club. He debuted as "The Great Carsoni" at age 14 and was paid $3 a show. Soon, many other performances at local picnics and county fairs followed. After graduating from high school, Carson had his first encounter with Hollywood. He hitchhiked to Hollywood, where he was arrested and fined $50 for impersonating a midshipman, a story often regarded as apocryphal. "Johnny embarked on an adventure, one so laden with implications about his future, that some have wondered if the escapade might not actually be a legend."
Carson joined the United States Navy on June 8, 1943, and received V-12 Navy College Training Program officer training at Columbia University and Millsaps College. Commissioned an ensign late in the war, Carson was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania in the Pacific. While in the Navy, Carson posted a 10–0 amateur boxing record, with most of his bouts fought on board the Pennsylvania. He was en route to the combat zone aboard a troop ship when the war ended. Carson served as a communications officer in charge of decoding encrypted messages. He said that the high point of his military career was performing a magic trick for United States Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal. In a conversation with Forrestal, the Secretary asked Carson if he planned to stay in the Navy after the war. In response, Carson said no and told him he wanted to be a magician. Forrestal asked him to perform, and Carson responded with a card trick. Carson made the discovery that he could entertain and amuse someone as cranky and sophisticated as Forrestal.
To take advantage of the educational opportunities from the Navy, Carson attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he joined Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and continued performing magic (then paid $25 per appearance). He majored in journalism with the intention of becoming a comedy writer. Instead, he switched his major to speech and drama a few months later, because he wanted to become a radio performer. Carson's college thesis, titled "How to Write Comedian Jokes", was a compilation of taped skits and jokes from popular radio shows with Carson explaining the comedic technique in a voice-over. It allowed him to graduate in three years. Carson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and speech with a minor in physics in 1949.
In October, 1949, Carson married Jody Wolcott in North Platte, NE. The marriage was volatile, with infidelities committed by both parties, and ended in divorce in 1963.
Carson began his broadcasting career in 1950 at WOW radio and television in Omaha. Carson soon hosted a morning television program called The Squirrel's Nest. One of his routines involved interviewing pigeons on the roof of the local courthouse that would report on the political corruption they had seen. Carson supplemented his income by serving as master of ceremonies at local church dinners, attended by some of the same politicians and civic leaders he had lampooned on the radio.
The wife of one of the Omaha political figures Carson spoofed owned stock in a radio station in Los Angeles, and in 1951 referred Carson to her brother, who was influential in the emerging television market in Southern California. Carson joined CBS-owned Los Angeles television station KNXT. In 1953, comic Red Skelton—a fan of Carson's "cult success" low-budget sketch comedy show, Carson's Cellar (1951 to 1953) on KNXT—asked Carson to join his show as a writer. In 1954, Skelton accidentally knocked himself unconscious during rehearsal an hour before his live show began. Carson then successfully filled in for him. In 1955, Jack Benny invited Carson to appear on one of his programs during the opening and closing segments. Carson imitated Benny and claimed that Benny had copied his gestures. Benny predicted that Carson would have a successful career as a comedian.
NBC's Tonight was the late-night counterpart to its early-morning show Today. Originating in 1954 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 which starred Jerry Lester and Dagmar. Tonight was successful, and when Allen moved on to primetime comedy-variety shows in 1956, Jack Paar replaced him as host of Tonight. Paar left the show in 1962.
Paul Anka wrote the theme song, ("Johnny's Theme"), a reworking of his "Toot Sweet"; given lyrics, it was renamed, "It's Really Love" and recorded by Annette Funicello in 1959. Before taking over The Tonight Show, Carson wrote lyrics for the song, so claimed 50 percent of the song's performance royalties (though the lyrics were never used). The theme is heard being played on sound recordings of Carson's first Tonight Show, and it was used without interruption through to his last broadcast on May 22, 1992.
Carson hosted several shows besides Carson's Cellar, including the game show Earn Your Vacation (1954) and the CBS variety show The Johnny Carson Show (1955–1956). He was a guest panelist on the original To Tell the Truth starting in 1960, later becoming a regular panelist from 1961 until 1962. After the primetime The Johnny Carson Show failed, he moved to New York City to host ABC-TV's Who Do You Trust? (1957–1962), formerly known as Do You Trust Your Wife? On Who Do You Trust?, Carson met his future sidekick and straight man, Ed McMahon. Although he believed moving to daytime television would hurt his career, Who Do You Trust? was a success. It was the first show where he could ad lib and interview guests, and because of Carson's on-camera wit, the show became "the hottest item on daytime television" during his six years at ABC.
Although he continued to have doubts about his new job, Carson became the host of Tonight (later becoming The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson) on October 1, 1962. After a difficult first year, he overcame his fears. While Tonight under its previous hosts had been successful, especially under Paar, Carson's version eventually did very well in the ratings. Billy Wilder said of Carson:
In 1966, Carson popularized Milton Bradley's game Twister when he played it with actress Eva Gabor. Not widely known up to that time, the game skyrocketed in popularity after the broadcast.
Perry Mason actor Raymond Burr became angry over Carson's continuing fat jokes about him and he only appeared on The Tonight Show twice, in 1968 and 1976.
On July 2, 1969, Carson launched an on-the-air attack on The New York Times after his nightly monologue, assailing the newspaper for an article saying that he was the highest-paid performer on television, earning $75,000 a week. He denied that was so, while declining to reveal his compensation in a subsequent interview with the newspaper, and called the article "damned unfair." The Times published a follow-up article saying that its initial reporter "erred," and that $75,000 a week was unlikely.
Carson opposed the Vietnam War, and capital punishment, favored racial equality, and was against criminalizing extramarital sex and pornography. He avoided explicitly mentioning his views on The Tonight Show, saying he "hates to be pinned down" as that would "hurt me as an entertainer, which is what I am." 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. I would love to have taken on Billy Graham. But I'm on TV five nights a week; I have nothing to gain by it and everything to lose." He also seldom invited political figures onto the Tonight Show because he "didn't want it to become a political forum" and did not want the show used, by himself or others, to influence the opinions of the viewers.
From July 1971, Carson stopped hosting five shows per week. Instead, Mondays featured a guest host, leaving Carson to host the other four weeknights. Shows were videotaped in Burbank at 5:30 pm, fed from there to the Central and Eastern time zone stations via cross-country television line at 8:30 pm Pacific time (11:30 pm Eastern time), and later sent from Burbank to the Pacific time zone stations at 11:30 pm Pacific time. Since only two feeds originated from Burbank, Central time zone stations received the Eastern feed one hour earlier at 10:30 pm local time, and Mountain time stations received the Pacific time zone feed one hour later at 12:30 am local time.
On May 1, 1972, the show moved from 30 Rockefeller Plaza to Burbank, California, because of the studio's proximity to celebrities.
Although Carson's program moved to Burbank in 1972, NBC's editing and production services for the show remained in New York, requiring that the program be transmitted between the two cities. In 1976, NBC used the Satcom 2 satellite to achieve this, feeding the live taping (which started around 5:30 pm local time) directly to New York, where it would be edited prior to the late-night broadcast. This live feed lasted usually for two to two-and-a-half hours a night and was both uncensored and commercial-free. During the slots for commercial breaks, the audio and picture feed would continue, capturing at times risqué language and other events that would be edited out before transmission.
Carson married Joanne Copeland the same year, on August 17. After a second protracted divorce in 1972, Copeland received a settlement of $6,000 per month in alimony until she remarried or until Carson's death (she received it until his death in 2005). She also received "a pretty nice little art collection." She later had a second marriage that also ended in divorce, and died in California, aged 83, in 2015. She had no children.
At the Carson Tonight Show's 10th-anniversary party on September 30, 1972, Carson announced that former model Joanna Holland and he had been secretly married that afternoon, shocking his friends and associates. On March 8, 1983, Holland filed for divorce. The divorce case finally ended in 1985 with an 80-page settlement, Holland receiving $20 million in cash and property.
In 1973, magician, television personality, and self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller appeared on The Tonight Show. In the NOVA documentary, James Randi - Secrets of the Psychics, magician and skeptical activist James Randi says that Carson "had been a magician himself and was skeptical" of Geller's claimed paranormal powers, so prior to the date of taping, Randi was asked "to help prevent any trickery." Per Randi's advice, the show prepared their own props without informing Geller, and did not let Geller or his staff "anywhere near them." When Geller joined Carson on stage, he appeared surprised that he was not going to be interviewed, but instead was expected to display his abilities using the provided articles. Geller said "This scares me." and "I'm surprised because before this program your producer came and he read me at least 40 questions you were going to ask me." Geller was unable to display any paranormal abilities, saying "I don't feel strong" and he expressed his displeasure at feeling like he was being "pressed" to perform by Carson. According to Adam Higginbotham's November 7, 2014 article in The New York Times:
In December 1973, Carson joked on Tonight about an alleged shortage of toilet paper. Viewers believed the story and panic buying and hoarding ensued across the United States as consumers emptied stores, causing a real shortage that lasted for weeks. Stores and toilet paper manufacturers had to ration supplies until the panic ended. Carson apologized in January 1974 for the incident, which became what The New York Times called a "classic study" of how rumors spread.
Brian Wilson was an avid fan of the show and in 1977 wrote a song titled "Johnny Carson" as a tribute. It was released on the Beach Boys Love You album.
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. Gore Vidal, another frequent Tonight Show guest and friend, wrote about Carson's personality in his 2006 memoir.
Carson invested $500,000 in the failed DeLorean Motor Company. Furthermore, Carson was head of a group of investors who purchased and operated two television stations. The first was KVVU-TV in Henderson, Nevada, an independent station serving Las Vegas, acquired by the Carson group in 1979. Shortly after buying the station, KVVU was rumored to be acquiring an NBC affiliation as then long-time affiliate KORK-TV was in the process of being replaced by KVBC (and now KSNV), but it never happened. Carson's second station, independent KNAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was purchased in 1982. Unlike the Las Vegas operation, KNAT faced stiffer competition for top-quality, syndicated programming. Carson sold both of his stations in 1985 and 1986 with KVVU-TV (FOX 5) going to the James Meredith Corporation and KNAT being sold to Trinity Broadcasting Network.
In 1980, at Carson's request, the show cut its 90-minute format to 60 minutes on September 16; Tom Snyder's Tomorrow added a half-hour to fill the vacant time. Joan Rivers became the "permanent" guest host from September 1983 until 1986. The Tonight Show returned to using rotating guest hosts, including comic George Carlin. Jay Leno then became the exclusive guest host in fall 1987. Leno joked that although other guest hosts had upped their fees, he had kept his low, assuring himself more bookings. Eventually, Monday night was for Leno, Tuesday for The Best of Carson—rebroadcasts usually dating from a year earlier, but occasionally from the 1970s.
Carson often made jokes at the expense of other celebrities. In 1980, Carson backed out of a deal to acquire the Aladdin Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, and a competing group led by Wayne Newton successfully bought the property. According to lawyer Henry Bushkin, Carson became annoyed that he was often portrayed by the media as having "lost" the deal and reacted by telling jokes on his show about Newton, who had spent a great deal of effort building a masculine image. This created something of a high-profile feud between Carson and Newton. Years later, Newton appeared on Larry King Live, declaring that "Johnny Carson is a mean-spirited human being. And there are people that he has hurt that people will never know about. And for some reason at some point, he decided to turn that kind of negative attention toward me. And I refused to have it." Newton has often told of personally confronting Carson; after the final straw, Newton barged into Carson's office at the NBC studios and threatened to beat him up unless the jokes stopped. They did.
In his book, Carson's former lawyer Henry Bushkin stated, he "was by instinct and upbringing definitely Republican, but of an Eisenhower sort that we don't see much of anymore ... Overall, you'd have to say he was anti-big: anti-big government, anti-big money, anti-big bullies, anti-big blowhards." Carson served as MC for Ronald Reagan's inaugural gala in 1981 at the request of Frank Sinatra.
In 1981, Carson created the John W. Carson Foundation, dedicated to supporting children, education, and health services. The foundation continues to support charitable causes. Upon his death, he left the Foundation USD$156 million (equivalent to $204,216,732 in 2019).
On February 27, 1982, Carson was arrested for drunken driving on La Cienega Blvd., near Beverly Hills; he was released on his own recognizance. Carson pleaded no contest to the charges, and in October, 1982, received a sentence of three years probation, a fine of $603 and was required to attend a driver's education alcohol program. Carson's driving privilege was restricted to driving only to and from work and the alcohol education classes for a period of 90 days.
In 1982, Carson was found to be driving his DeLorean while under the influence of alcohol. He pleaded nolo contendere to a misdemeanor charge and received a sentence of three years' probation. Carson was required to attend an alcohol program for drivers and was permitted to use his car only to drive to work and back, without transporting any people or animals in his vehicle.
Although Carson's work schedule became more abbreviated, Tonight remained so successful that his compensation from NBC continued to rise; by the mid-1970s, he had become the highest-paid personality on television, earning about $4 million a year ($15,680,000 today), not including nightclub appearances and his other businesses. He refused many offers to appear in films, including title roles in The Thomas Crown Affair and Gene Wilder's role in Blazing Saddles. He also declined director Martin Scorsese's offer to co-star with Robert De Niro in the 1983 film The King of Comedy, the role of a TV talk-show host then going to Jerry Lewis.
On June 20, 1987, Carson married Alexis Maas. The marriage lasted until his death in 2005.
Carson had three sons with his first wife: Christopher, Cory, and Richard. His middle son, Richard, died on June 21, 1991, when his car plunged down a steep embankment along a paved service road off Highway 1 near Cayucos, California. Apparently, Richard had been taking photographs when the accident occurred. On the first Tonight Show after his son's death, Carson paid tribute to Richard's photographic work by showing his nature slides, while Stevie Ray Vaughan's 1989 song "Riviera Paradise" played in the background. 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.
Carson retired from show business on May 22, 1992, at age 66, when he stepped down as host of The Tonight Show. His farewell was a major media event, often emotional for Carson, his colleagues, and the audiences, and stretched over several nights. In tribute to Carson and his enormous influence, several networks that had late-night variety talk shows "went dark" for the entire hour he did the last show. After 13 tries, The Tonight Show finally won the Emmy for Outstanding Late-night later that year, buoyed by the penultimate broadcast, which featured Johnny's final two guests: Robin Williams and Bette Midler.
At the end of his final Tonight Show episode, Carson indicated that he might, if so inspired, return with a new project. Instead, he chose to go into full retirement, rarely giving interviews and declining to participate in NBC's 75th-anniversary celebrations. He made an occasional cameo appearance, including voicing himself on the May 13, 1993, episode of The Simpsons ("Krusty Gets Kancelled"), telephoning David Letterman on a November 1993 episode of Late Show with David Letterman, and appearing in the 1993 NBC special Bob Hope: The First 90 Years.
On May 13, 1994, Carson appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. During a week of shows from Los Angeles, Letterman was having Larry "Bud" Melman (Calvert DeForest) deliver his "Top Ten Lists" under the guise that a famous personality would be delivering the list, instead. On the last show of the week, Letterman indicated that Carson would be delivering the list. Instead, DeForest delivered the list, insulted the audience (in keeping with the gag), and walked off to polite applause. Letterman then indicated that the card he was given did not have the proper list on it and asked that the "real" list be brought out. On that cue, the real Carson emerged from behind the curtain (as Letterman's band played "Johnny's Theme"), an appearance that prompted a 90 second standing ovation from the audience. Carson then asked to sit behind Letterman's desk; Letterman obliged, as the audience continued to cheer and applaud. After some moments, Carson departed from the show without having spoken to the audience. He later cited acute laryngitis as the reason for his silence. This turned out to be Carson's last television appearance.
Carson, an amateur astronomer, was a close friend of astronomer Carl Sagan, who often appeared on The Tonight Show. The unique way Sagan had of saying certain words, like "billions" of stars, would lead Carson to ribbing his friend, saying "BILL-ions and BILL-ions". Carson was the first person to contact Sagan's wife Ann Druyan with condolences when the scientist died in 1996. He owned several telescopes, including a top-of-the-line unit. In 1981, the minor planet 1981 EM4 was named in his honor, 3252 Johnny.
On March 19, 1999, Carson suffered a severe heart attack at his home in Malibu, California, and was hospitalized in nearby Santa Monica, where he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery.
In November 2004, Carson announced a $5.3 million gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to support the Hixson–Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts Department of Theater Arts, which created the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film. Another $5 million donation was announced by the estate of Carson to the University of Nebraska following his death, while a $1 million donation was announced on November 4, 2011, creating the Johnny Carson Opportunity Scholarship Fund.
At 6:50 am PST on January 23, 2005, Carson died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of respiratory failure arising from emphysema. He was 79, and had revealed his terminal illness to the public in September 2002. His body was cremated, and the ashes were given to his wife, Alexis Maas. In accordance with his family's wishes, no public memorial service was held. Carson is also survived by his younger brother, Dick, who is an Emmy Award-winning director of, among other things, the competing Merv Griffin Show and Wheel of Fortune.
The 2005 film The Aristocrats was dedicated to Carson.
Carson reportedly loathed what he perceived as disloyalty, and he was furious when former frequent Tonight Show guest hosts John Davidson and Joan Rivers began hosting their own talk shows. Rivers' show on the Fox Network directly competed with Carson during the 1986–1987 season before being cancelled. 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.
In August 2010, the charitable foundation created by Johnny Carson reported receiving $156 million from a personal trust established by the entertainer years prior to his January 2005 death. Carson's foundation was now by far the largest of the Hollywood charities.
A two-hour documentary about his life, Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, aired on PBS on May 14, 2012, as part of their American Masters series. It is narrated by Kevin Spacey and features interviews with many of Carson's family, fellow comedians, and protégés.
His lavish Malibu beachfront residence, valued at $81 million in 2017, contained only one bedroom. Friends and family members staying over would sleep in the guest house across the street.
Johnny got married 4 times: first to Joan Morrill (Jody) Wolcott on October 1, 1949, whom he had three sons with. Johnny then was married to Joanne Copeland on August 17, 1963, to Joanna Holland on September 30, 1972, and finally to Alexandra (Alexis) Maas on June 20, 1987. Johnny spent the last years of his life on his yacht.
Currently, Johnny Carson is 97 years, 7 months and 7 days old. Johnny Carson will celebrate 98th birthday on a Monday 23rd of October 2023. Below we countdown to Johnny Carson upcoming birthday.