Johnny Carson

One of the questions I ask many of our guests I will answer for myself. Who are some of the most influencial people in my life.

I have had so many different answers from the wrestlers to that question. So here is the answer for me.

In Wrestling, as much of a shock it may come to you, Rob Noxious was probably the most influencial person to get me involved in Wrestling. Followed by Rockin Rebel who has taught me so much.

In Music I would say probably Elvis Presley, David Lee Roth and Ian Gillian were some of the most influential.

But this segment isn't about Music or Wrestling. This segment is about someone else who influenced several generations. Someone who put himself on the line 4-5 days a week for 30 years. Yeah 3 decades. This guys hobknobbed with the stars, and was truly a guy who was Classier than most, wittier than many and went out when he was on top. This guy did more for his field than probably any of his predacessors and more than the people who followed him.

I have never heard a bad thin about this guy. He didnt have to apologize for things. He had a huge following and entertained more people over the years than probably anyone.

He was better known than most people in this country and abroad.

He never was in a PPV. He Never had to Curse to get over and was a champion in everynes eyes. HE paved the way for so many people.

The man's name is John William Carson
Birthdate: October 23, 1925
Birthplace: Corning, IA
Date of Death: January 23, 2005
Occupations: Actor, Comedian, TV/radio host
Quote: "If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
Claim to Fame: Host of The Tonight Show and king of late night for nearly three decades (1962-1992)

Significant Other(s):
Wife: Joan Carson Buckley (nee Wolcott), aka Jody Carson; married 1949; divorced 1963 (Carson obtained a Mexican divorce); born in 1926; married art director Don Buckley in 1970-73; lost 1990 suit to increase her 1970 alimony award; met at the University of Nebraska where she was an art major; worked as Carson's assistant in the magic act that he performed in American Legion halls across the country
Wife: Joanne Carson (nee Copeland); married August 1963; divorced 1972; born c. 1932; earned Ph.D in nutrition after divorce; reportedly received a lump sum of $160,000, an art collection and $75,000 per week as divorce settlement
Wife: Joanna Carson (nee Holland); born in 1941; married 1972; divorced 1983; received $20 million in cash and property in divorce settlement from Carson
Wife: Alexis Carson (nee Mass), aka Alex Carson, former secretary; married June 20, 1987; born in 1950; reportedly met Carson while strolling by his Malibu beach house


Family:
Grandfather: Christopher Carson
Father: Homer Carson, aka Kit Carson, Power company manager; deceased
Mother: Ruth Carson (nee Hook), Housewife; died 1985
Sibling: Has one older sibling
Brother: Dick Carson, Director; director of Wheel of Fortune; younger than Carson
Son: Christopher Carson, Golf pro; born in 1950; mother Jody Wolcott
Son: Richard Wolcott Carson, aka Rick Carson, photographer; born June 1952; died in car accident June 21, 1991 while on assignment; mother Jody Wolcott
Son: Cory Carson, Guitarist; born in 1953; mother Jody Wolcott


Awards:
1976: American Guild of Variety Artists Entertainer of the Year Award
1976: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement for The Tonight Show
1977: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program Achievement for The Tonight Show
1978: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program Achievement for The Tonight Show
1978: Emmy for Outstanding Program Achievement-Special Class for The Tonight Show
1980: Emmy for Third Annual Atas Governor's Award
1992: Presidential Medal of Freedom
1992: American Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award
1992: Presidential Medal of Freedom
1993: Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award


Factoids:
Underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1999
Started his career as a magician and ventriloquist


Credits


Remembering Johnny

by Joal Ryan
Jan 24, 2005, 6:25 PM PT

Per Johnny Carson's request, there will be no memorial service for the late-night TV king. But per his legion of admirers, there will be a multitude of tributes.

Monday's Tonight Show paid homage to its former host in a special episode, NBC said. Longtime Carson sidekick Ed McMahon and longtime Carson favorites Bob Newhart and Don Rickles were to appear with current host Jay Leno, along with Drew Carey and singer k.d. lang.

Standing on the Tonight stage more than a decade into his own run as its star, Leno opened the telecast by saying he still felt like a guest in "his"--Carson's--"house."

"Because he built this place," Leno said. "Everyone who does this for a living owes it to him. Johnny was the best, plain and simple."

Other TV tributes: Monday and Tuesday's editions of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with Monday's show being dedicated to Carson; Monday's Larry King Live on CNN, which featured an at-length chat with McMahon; and, TV Land Legends: The 60 Minutes Interviews, a TV Land special featuring Carson's sitdowns with the newsmagazine, to air Thursday.

CBS' Late Show is in reruns this week, and will address the passing when unabashed Carson admirer David Letterman returns.

Meanwhile, in Hollywood on Monday, honorary mayor Johnny Grant placed flowers at Carson's Walk of Fame star.

Carson died Sunday at the age of 79. His 30-year run as comic tastemaker on Tonight endeared him to political leaders, fellow entertainers and grateful insomniacs.

President Bush hailed Carson as "a steady and reassuring presence."

"His wit and insight made Americans laugh and think and had a profound influence on American life and entertainment," the President said in a statement.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action star turned governor of California, called Carson "a great friend."


"He welcomed me on his show when no one knew who I was and helped promote the image of bodybuilding," the statesman formerly known as the Austrian Oak said. "He brought out the best in people."

Bette Midler, who serenaded Carson on his next-to-last show in 1992, said the nimble host "had it all--a little bit of devil, a whole lot of angel, with charm, good looks, superb timing and great, great class."

Robin Williams, another guest on that penultimate show, likened Carson's laugh to "pure gold."

"We all worked extra hard to hear it," Williams said of Carson's signature throw-back-the-head laugh. "Being on The Tonight Show with him was like playing Center Court at Wimbledon. Total excitement, and you had to be at the top of your game."

In all, Carson chatted up more than 22,000 guests--from Woody Allen to ZZ Top--during his 1962-1992 Tonight Show run. Oprah Winfrey was among their ranks.

In an interview on ABC News Radio, the daytime talk queen, arguably the most influential broadcaster of her era, said Carson was to baby boomers what Ed Sullivan was to a previous generation.

"And, you know, the very first time I got invited to the show, that defined, 'You have now made it,'" Winfrey said.

Chevy Chase, one of Carson's celebrity poker pals, told TV's Extra that the native Nebraskan was "the quintessential American guy."

"With all you can say for Jay, David, Conan [O'Brien]--they appeal to certain slices, where Johnny seemed to cut right through America," Chase said.

On her Website, Joan Rivers, Carson's longtime permanent guest host, said her former boss, from whom she became estranged after she agreed to host her own show for Fox in 1986, "was truly the best straight man ever."

"He fed you lines like nobody else ever did before or since," Rivers said.

Billy Crystal, who, like Carson, grew up to be an Oscar host, said one of the great thrills of his career came when Carson told him how much he enjoyed watching him at the Academy Awards.

"That's how much I looked up to him," Crystal said. "He was a true idol."

Film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel first spent couch time with the TV legend in the mid-1980s. Ebert remembered the anxiety-inducing appearance (which, as with most Carson-guided appearances, went fine) in a column for Monday's Chicago Sun-Times.

"He was cool beyond cool," Ebert wrote. "He made Sinatra seem to be trying too hard."

Rosie O'Donnell, who ended her own talk show run on the anniversary of Carson's Tonight Show sign-off, had the briefest of statements about her idol.

Said O'Donnell, simply: "He was the definition of class and dignity."