—Ed McMahon, almost every night during Johnny Carson's run as host of The Tonight Show
John William "Johnny" Carson (October 23, 1925 – January 23, 2005) was an American television host, comedian, writer, producer, actor, and musician, best known for his 30 years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). Carson received six Emmy Awards, the Governor's Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award. He 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.
Although his show was already successful by the end of the 1960s, during the 1970s, Carson became an American icon and remained so even after his retirement in 1992. He 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. Former late-night host and friend, David Letterman, cited Carson's influence.
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- Beware the Nice Ones: Carson was forever affable on-stage but had a legendary temper in his private life. Madonna and Sean Penn got married right next to his house; legend has it he was so annoyed by paparazzi helicopters that he went out and spelled FUCK OFF on his front lawn with rocks.
- Parental Neglect: Carson felt this emotionally from his mother, who never seemed to enjoy his career or success and often showed him no affection. When she died he was reported to have said, “The wicked witch is dead.” He didn’t go to her funeral.