90 Facts About Johnny Carson


John William Carson was an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer.


Johnny Carson is best known as the host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.


Johnny Carson received six Primetime Emmy Awards, the Television Academy's 1980 Governor's Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award.


Johnny Carson was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987.


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


Johnny Carson moved from radio to TV and took over as host of the late-night talk show Tonight from Jack Paar in 1962.


Johnny Carson remained an American icon even after his retirement in 1992.


Johnny Carson adopted a casual, conversational approach with extensive interaction with guests, an approach pioneered by Arthur Godfrey and previous Tonight Show hosts Steve Allen and Jack Paar but enhanced by Carson's lightning-quick wit.


Johnny Carson is a cultural icon and widely regarded as the king of late-night television.


At the age of 12, Johnny Carson found a book on magic at a friend's house and immediately purchased a mail-order magician's kit.


Johnny Carson debuted as "The Great Carsoni" at age 14 and was paid $3 a show.


Johnny Carson had hitchhiked to Hollywood, where he was arrested and fined $50 for impersonating a midshipman, a story often regarded as apocryphal.


Johnny 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.


Johnny Carson was en route to the combat zone aboard a troop ship when the war ended.


Johnny Carson served as a communications officer in charge of decoding encrypted messages.


Johnny Carson said that the high point of his military career was performing a magic trick for United States Secretary of the Navy James V Forrestal.


Forrestal asked him to perform, and Johnny Carson responded with a card trick.


Johnny Carson made the discovery that he could entertain and amuse someone as cranky and sophisticated as Forrestal.


Johnny Carson majored in journalism with the intention of becoming a comedy writer, but instead switched his major to speech and drama a few months later because he wanted to become a radio performer.


Johnny Carson's college thesis, titled "How to Write Comedy for Radio", was a compilation of taped skits and jokes from popular radio shows with Johnny Carson explaining the comedic technique in a voice-over.


Johnny Carson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and speech with a minor in physics in 1949.


Johnny Carson began his broadcasting career in 1950 at WOW radio and television in Omaha.


Johnny Carson soon hosted a morning television program called The Squirrel's Nest.


The wife of one of the Omaha political figures Johnny Carson spoofed owned stock in a radio station in Los Angeles, and in 1951 referred Johnny Carson to her brother, who was influential in the emerging television market in Southern California.


Johnny Carson joined CBS-owned Los Angeles television station KNXT.


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


Johnny Carson imitated Benny and claimed that Benny had copied his gestures.


Johnny Carson was a guest panelist on the original To Tell the Truth beginning in 1960, becoming a regular panelist from 1961 to 1962.


Johnny Carson declined the offer because he feared the difficulty of interviewing celebrities for 105 minutes each day.


Johnny Carson is the Valium and the Nembutal of a nation.


Johnny Carson has to be their nurse and their surgeon.


Johnny Carson has captivated the American bourgeoisie without ever offending the highbrows, and he has never said anything that wasn't liberal or progressive.


Johnny Carson's trademark was a phantom golf swing at the end of his monologues, aimed stage left toward the studio orchestra.


Johnny Carson had a talent for quick quips to deal with problems.


From July 1971, Johnny Carson stopped hosting five shows per week.


Johnny Carson refused many offers to appear in films, including title roles in The Thomas Crown Affair and Gene Wilder's role in Blazing Saddles.


Johnny Carson declined director Martin Scorsese's offer to co-star with Robert De Niro in the 1983 film The King of Comedy, with the role of a TV talk-show host then going to Jerry Lewis.


Johnny Carson was on his way to becoming a paranormal superstar.


Johnny Carson played several continuing characters on sketches during the show, including:.


Johnny Carson often made jokes at the expense of other celebrities.


On February 27,1982, Johnny Carson was arrested for drunk driving on La Cienega Boulevard, near Beverly Hills; he was released on his own recognizance.


Johnny 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.


Johnny Carson's driving privilege was restricted to driving only to and from work and the alcohol education classes for a period of 90 days.


Perry Mason actor Raymond Burr became angry over Johnny Carson's continuing fat jokes about him and he only appeared on The Tonight Show twice, in 1968 and 1976.


On July 2,1969, Johnny 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.


Johnny 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.


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, Johnny Carson never spoke to her again.


In December 1973, Johnny Carson joked on Tonight about an alleged shortage of toilet paper.


Johnny Carson apologized in January 1974 for the incident, which became what The New York Times called a "classic study" of how rumors spread.


Additionally, Johnny Carson was head of a group of investors who purchased and operated two television stations.


Johnny Carson sold both of his stations in 1985 and 1986 with KVVU-TV going to the Meredith Corporation and KNAT being sold to Trinity Broadcasting Network.


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


Johnny Carson's farewell was a major media event, often emotional for Carson, his colleagues, and the audiences, and stretched over several nights.


Johnny Carson made an occasional cameo appearance, including voicing himself on the May 13,1993, episode of The Simpsons, 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, Johnny Carson appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.


On that cue, the real Carson emerged from behind the curtain, an appearance that prompted a 90-second standing ovation from the audience.


Johnny Carson then asked to sit behind Letterman's desk; Letterman obliged, as the audience continued to cheer and applaud.


Johnny Carson later cited acute laryngitis as the reason for his silence.


Johnny Carson reviewed clips of the Tonight Show included in DVD compilations, and had humor pieces published in The New Yorker.


Letterman would then use these jokes in the monologue of his show, which Johnny Carson got "a big kick out of", according to Worldwide Pants Inc senior vice president Peter Lassally, who formerly produced both men's programs.


Johnny Carson said Carson had always believed Letterman, not Leno, to be his "rightful successor".


Johnny Carson's influences included Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Fred Allen, Bob Hope, Groucho Marx, and Jack Paar.


Johnny Carson's show launched the careers of many performers, especially comedians and musicians.


Johnny Carson was successor to The Ed Sullivan Show as a showcase for different types of talent, as well as continuing a vaudeville-style variety show.


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


Johnny Carson normally refused to discuss politics, social controversies, his childhood, or his private life with interviewers, and offered a list of written answers to journalists who wanted to ask him questions.


In October 1982, Johnny Carson pled no contest to a misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit, while the charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a license were withdrawn by the prosecution.


Municipal Court Judge David Kidney ordered Johnny Carson to attend a driver's education alcohol program and restricted his license for 90 days to trips to and from work and those classes.


In October 1949, Johnny Carson married Jody Wolcott in North Platte, Nebraska.


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


Johnny Carson had three sons with his first wife: Christopher, Cory, and Richard.


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


Johnny Carson's foundation was now by far the largest of the Hollywood charities.


Johnny Carson donated to the Northeast Community College Lifelong Learning Center in honor of his favorite teacher, Miss Faye Gordon.


Johnny Carson's last known visit to Norfolk was to throw the 100th-birthday party for Miss Gordon, which Carson had promised to do several years earlier.


Johnny 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 Johnny Carson to ribbing his friend, saying "BILL-ions and BILL-ions".


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


Johnny Carson was an amateur drummer and was shown on a 1979 segment of 60 Minutes practising at home on a drum set given to him by his close friend Buddy Rich, who was the jazz musician with the most appearances on The Tonight Show.


Johnny Carson was a private pilot; his flight logbook and jacket were donated after his death to the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


On March 19,1999, Johnny 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.


Johnny Carson had been a heavy smoker for decades, and in the early days of his tenure on The Tonight Show, often smoked on-camera.


Johnny Carson smoked four packs of Pall Mall cigarettes a day.


At 6:50 am PST on January 23,2005, Johnny Carson died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of respiratory failure arising from emphysema.


Johnny Carson was 79, and had revealed his terminal illness to the public in September 2002.


Johnny Carson's body was cremated, and the ashes were given to his wife, Alexis Maas.


Johnny Carson was survived by his younger brother, Dick, who was an Emmy Award-winning director of, among other things, the competing Merv Griffin Show and Wheel of Fortune.


On his final Tonight Show appearance, Johnny Carson himself said that while sometimes people who work together for long stretches of time on television do not necessarily like each other, this was not the case with McMahon; he and McMahon were good friends who would have drinks and dinner together, and the camaraderie they had on the show could not be faked.


At the first Comedy Awards on Comedy Central, the Johnny Carson Award was given to David Letterman.


At the 2nd Annual Comedy Awards on Comedy Central, the Johnny Carson Award was given to Don Rickles.