Johnny Carson

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John William “Johnny” Carson (October 23, 1925 – January 23, 2005) was an American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years (1962–1992). Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1985 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, and received Kennedy Center Honors in 1993.[1]

Although his show was already hugely successful by the end of the 1960s, it was during the 1970s that he became an American icon and the "best guest" in American homes up until his retirement in 1992. Carson is credited with molding modern television late night talk shows, transitioning the format from Ed Sullivan's era of post-war vaudeville-derived variety where the host was merely an announcer of acts, to today's more casual, conversational approach with extensive interaction with guests. Late night hosts David Letterman, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Craig Ferguson and Jimmy Fallon have all cited Carson's influence on their late night talk shows, which greatly resemble Carson's show in format and tone.


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