TV legend Johnny Carson has died at the age of 79. He passed away
"peacefully" today in California from complications of emphysema, according to family members. Carson was best known for his 30 year stint as host
of late night TV's "The Tonight Show." He is survived by his wife Alexis, his sons Chris and Cory, and an extended network of family, friends and
Johnny Carson, the "Tonight Show" TV host who served America a smooth nightcap of celebrity banter, droll comedy and heartland charm for 30 years,
has died. He was 79.
"Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told The Associated Press. "He was surrounded by his family,
whose loss will be immeasurable. There will be no memorial service."
Sotzing would not give further details, including the time of death or the location.
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Carson served in the Navy for 3 years, after which he immediately entered the world of show biz. He started his career as a magician, then moved to
radio and game shows.
In 1962, he began hosting The Tonight Show
with Ed McMahon as his sidekick Each show started with McMahon's booming and now-infamous
"Heeeeeeeere's Johnny!" which brought Carson sweeping onto stage to deliver a droll and always entertaining monologue on current events. Carson
also played a host of characters on the show, including psychic "Carmac the Magnificent."
One of the most memorable (and relevant) events on the show was the appearance of Uri Geller as a guest. Carson wanted Geller - known for claiming he
was able to bend objects with mindpower alone - to provide a demonstration of his abilities. Carson produced several spoons and invited Geller to
bend them; he was unable to do so, and that night in 1973 is often regarded as Geller's first true exposure as a hoax.
Johnny Carson has, over the course of his career, won 6 Emmy awards, an induction into the Television Hall of Fame, a George Foster Peabody Award, and
a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He retired from television in 1992 and largely stayed out of the public eye since.
[edit on 23-1-2005 by Banshee]