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Johnny Carson ACTOR

Johnny Carson was born on October 23rd, 1925 in Corning, Iowa with the middle name William and became known as "the King of Late Night".  At the age of eight his family relocated to Nebraska and in 1943 he served with the United States Navy.  Upon completing his military service, he enrolled at the University of Nebraska and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and speech with a minor in physics in 1949.
Carson began his involvement in the entertainment industry working on WOW radio and local television in Nebraska.  He was then chosen to host a morning television show called, "The Squirrel's Nest".
By the early 1950's he made the move to Hollywood in search of work in entertainment where he soon found work with CBS working on his own sketch comedy show, "Carson's Cellar" (1951-1953).  Soon he was receiving offers for writing jobs and television appearances from such people as Red Skelton and Jack Benny.
Over time he was hired to host a number of other programs such as, "Earn Your Vacation" (1954), "The Johnny Carson Show" (1955-1956) and "Who Do You Trust?" (1957-1962).  This job lead NBC to contact Carson and invite him to take over "The Tonight Show", which at first he declined but later reconsidered.
This show was later re-titled, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and it dominated late night television for three decades.  By the early 1970's he was earning $2 million a year which made him the highest paid TV entertainer ever which topped off at $5 million by the 1980's.  He brought along his well known side kick, Ed McMahon in 1958 to join him on the show.   
Prior to working on this show he did do some theatrical acting on such television series as, "Playhouse 90", "Three men on a Horse" and "The United States Steel Hour".  Adding to his resume was being the host of five Academy Award telecasts from 1979 through 1984.
In addition to working as a late night host, Carson also started, Carson Productions and produced a number of television pilots and series.  Throughout his career he received six Emmy Awards, a Governor Award, a Peabody Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Kennedy Center Honor and was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
After retiring from the industry in 1992 he chose to live quietly in Malibu, California.  Jay Leno took over for NBC and competed with Dave Letterman for late night television viewers.
He did return to television on occasion such as voicing himself on an episode of, "The Simpson's" (1993) and appeared also in 1993 on the NBC Special, "Bob Hope".  Carson is a very private person, however, he has never kept his political opinions quiet and has voice publicly his feelings on being opposed to capital punishment and was against criminalizing extramarital sex and pornography.
Johnny Carson was also a very charitable man creating the, John W. Carson Foundation that helps support children's education and health services.  He also donated funds to his home town of Norfolk for the Carson Cancer Center and the Johnny Carson Theater at Norfolk Senior High School.             
He married a total of four times throughout his lifetime.  First to Joan Morrill Wolcott in 1949 and they had three children together before the marriage ended in 1963.  He then married Joanne Copeland in 1963 and they remained together until 1972.  His third wife was Joanna Holland whom he wed in 1972 but again another marriage ended in divorce by 1985.  His fourth and final wife was Alexandra Maas whom he wed in 1987 and they remained together until he passed away on January 23rd, 2005 in Los Angeles, California from emphysema at the age of seventy nine.  His remains were cremated and his ashes were given to his wife.   


1962-1992  The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 

1966-1969  The Bob Hope Show

1965-1968  Get Smart

1967   The Danny Thomas Show

1966   Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre

1966   NBC Children's Theatre

1964   Looking for Love

1963   The Jack Benny Program 

1957-1962  Who Do You Trust?

1956-1957  Do You Trust Your Wife?

1960   The United States Steel Hour

1959   The Steve Allen Plymouth Show 

1957   Playhouse 90 

1952   All Star Revue

1951-1953  Carson's Cellar

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