Johnny Carson

Talk Show Host

John William "Johnny" Carson was an American television host and comedian, known for thirty years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). Carson received six Emmy Awards, the Governor 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.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Johnny Carson.

  • Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, Famous For Antichoking Technique, Dies At 96 New York Times
    Google News - Dec 18, 2016
  • Nonfiction: A New Biography Of Joan Rivers
    NYTimes - Nov 28, 2016
  • S default mini
    Comic And Playwright Lisa Lampanelli My Play "Stuffed" Shows That We're All Really Still Working On Ourselves"
    Huffington Post - Oct 28, 2016
  • S default mini
    Shecky Trump
    Huffington Post - Oct 25, 2016


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Johnny Carson.


1925 Birth Carson was born on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, to Homer Lloyd "Kit" Carson (1899-1983), a power company manager, and Ruth (Hook) Carson (1901-1985), who was of Irish descent. … Read More


1943 17 Years Old Carson joined the United States Navy on June 8, 1943, received V-12 Navy College Training Program officer training at Columbia University and Millsaps College. … Read More


1948 - 1951 4 More Events
1953 27 Years Old 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.
1954 28 Years Old In 1954, Skelton during rehearsal accidentally knocked himself unconscious an hour before his live show began, and Carson successfully filled in for him.
1955 29 Years Old In 1955, Jack Benny invited Carson to appear on one of his programs during the opening and closing segments. … Read More


1958 32 Years Old In 1958, he appeared as a guest star in an episode entitled "Do You Trust Your Wife" on NBC's short-lived variety show, The Polly Bergen Show. … Read More
Bob Newhart, Jackie Gleason, Groucho Marx, and Joey Bishop all declined, as well, but NBC finally convinced Carson to sign by early February 1962.


1970 - 1971 2 More Events
1972 46 Years Old 1 More Event
Though Carson's program was based in Burbank beginning in 1972, NBC's editing and production services for the program were located in New York, resulting in the requirement that Carson's program be transmitted from Burbank to New York. … Read More
1973 47 Years Old In December 1973, Carson joked on Tonight about an alleged shortage of toilet paper. … Read More
1974 48 Years Old Carson apologized in January 1974 for the incident, which became what The New York Times called a "classic study" of how rumors spread. … Read More


1979 53 Years Old 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. … Read More
1982 56 Years Old Carson's second station, independent KNAT-TV in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was purchased in 1982. … Read More
1985 59 Years Old 1 More Event
Carson sold both of his stations between 1985 and 1986 with KVVU-TV (FOX 5) going to The James Meredith Corporation and KNAT being sold to Trinity Broadcasting Network. … Read More


1987 61 Years Old On June 20, 1987, Carson married Alexis Maas.
1991 65 Years Old Carson had three sons, Christopher, Cory, and Richard. All three sons were from his first marriage. Richard Carson died on June 21, 1991, when his car plunged down a steep embankment along a paved service road off Highway 1 near Cayucos, California. … Read More
1992 66 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Johnny Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993. … Read More
1996 70 Years Old …  Carson was the first person to contact Sagan's wife Ann Druyan with condolences when the scientist died in 1996. … Read More
1999 73 Years Old 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. … Read More
2002 76 Years Old He was 79, and had revealed his terminal illness to the public in September 2002. … Read More
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.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.