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Author Topic: TV host Ed McMahon is dead at age 86  (Read 3788 times)
papajoad
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« on: June 23, 2009, 07:52:37 PM »

TV host Ed McMahon is dead at age 86
He was best-known as Johnny Carson’s sidekick on ‘The Tonight Show’


Remembering Ed McMahon

LOS ANGELES - Ed McMahon, the loyal “Tonight Show” sidekick who bolstered boss Johnny Carson with guffaws and a resounding “H-e-e-e-e-e-ere’s Johnny!” for 30 years, died early Tuesday. He was 86.

McMahon died shortly after midnight at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center surrounded by his wife, Pam, and other family members, said his publicist, Howard Bragman.

Bragman didn’t give a cause of death, saying only that McMahon had a “multitude of health problems the last few months.”

McMahon had bone cancer, among other illnesses, according to a person close to the entertainer, and had been hospitalized for several weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.

McMahon broke his neck in a fall in March 2007, and battled a series of financial problems as his injuries prevented him from working.

Doc Severinson, “Tonight” bandleader during the Carson era, said McMahon was a man “full of life and joy and celebration.”

“He will be sorely missed. He was one of the greats in show business, but most of all he was a gentleman. I miss my friend,” Severinson said in a statement.

Jerry Digney, who was McMahon’s longtime publicist, said McMahon was the most “courtly, good-natured person you could ever meet” and that he brought “elegance, humor and a new sense of importance” to the role of second banana.

McMahon and Carson had worked together for nearly five years on the game show “Who Do You Trust?” when Carson took over NBC’s late-night show from Jack Paar in October 1962. McMahon played second banana on “Tonight” until Carson retired in 1992.

“You can’t imagine hooking up with a guy like Carson,” McMahon said in an interview with The Associated Press in 1993. “There’s the old phrase, hook your wagon to a star. I hitched my wagon to a great star.”

McMahon, who never failed to laugh at his Carson’s quips, kept his supporting role in perspective.

“It’s like a pitcher who has a favorite catcher,” he said. “The pitcher gets a little help from the catcher, but the pitcher’s got to throw the ball. Well, Johnny Carson had to throw the ball, but I could give him a little help.”

Nightly ‘free-for all’ with Carson“And now h-e-e-e-e-e-ere’s Johnny!” was McMahon’s trademark opener for each “Tonight” show, followed by a small, respectful bow toward the star. McMahon’s style was honed during his youthful days as a carnival hawker.

 The highlight for McMahon came just after the monologue, when he and Carson would chat before the guests took the stage.

“We would just have a free-for-all,” he said in the AP interview. “Now to sit there, with one of the brightest, most well-read men I’ve ever met, the funniest, and just to hold your own in that conversation. ... I loved that.”

When Carson died in 2005, McMahon said he was “like a brother to me,” and recalled bantering with him on the phone a few months earlier.

“We could have gone on (television) that night and done a ’Carnac’ skit. We were that crisp and hot.”

His medical and financial problems kept him in the headlines in his last years. It was reported in June 2008 that he was facing possible foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home.

By year’s end, a deal was worked out allowing him to stay in his home, but legal action involving other alleged debts continued.
 
Among those who had stepped up with offers of help was Donald Trump.

“When I was at the Wharton School of Business I’d watch him every night,” Trump told the Los Angeles Times in August. “How could this happen?”

McMahon even spoofed his own problems with a spot that aired during the 2009 Super Bowl promoting a cash-for-gold business. Pairing up with rap artist MC Hammer, he explained how easy it is to turn gold items into cash, jokingly saying “Goodbye, old friend” to a gold toilet and rolling out a convincing “H-e-e-e-e-e-ere’s money!”

Born Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr. on March 6, 1923, in Detroit, McMahon grew up in Lowell, Mass. He got his start on television playing a circus clown on the 1950-51 variety series “Big Top.” But the World War II Marine veteran interrupted his career to serve as a fighter pilot in Korea.

He joined “Who Do You Trust?” in 1958, its second year, the start of his long association with Carson. It was a partnership that outlasted their multiple marriages, which provided regular on-air fodder for jokes.

Career beyond ‘Tonight’
While Carson built his career around “Tonight” and withdrew from the limelight after his retirement, McMahon took a different path. He was host of several shows over the years, including “The Kraft Music Hall” (1968) and the amateur talent contest “Star Search.”
 
He was a longtime co-host of the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, a Labor Day weekend institution, and was co-host with Dick Clark of “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.

In 1993, he recalled his first meeting with Carson after they left “Tonight.”

“The first thing he said was, ‘I really miss you. You know, it was fun, wasn’t it?”’ McMahon recalled. “I said, ‘It was great.’ And it was. It was just great.”

Besides his wife, Pam, McMahon is survived by children Claudia, Katherine, Linda, Jeffrey and Lex.

Bragman said no funeral arrangements have been made.

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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 03:41:50 PM »

COLONEL ED HAS DIED


He wanted to be a Marine fighter
pilot.  The US was building up their
military force, but they were not at war yet and the Navy required all its potential Navy and Marine pilots to have two years of college. So Ed started classes at Boston College.


When Pearl Harbor was attacked the Army
and the Navy both dropped the college requirement and Ed applied to
the Marines.  His primary flight training was in Dallas and then he went to Pensacola, Florida.  He was carrier qualified, which means he knew how to perform a controlled crash of his single engine fighter, onto the rolling deck of a Navy floating runway.


It took Ed almost two years to get through all the Navy flight training.  His problem was he
was a very good pilot and the Marines needed flight instructors.  He had a great command presence and public speaking ability, which landed him in the classroom, training new baby Marine pilots.


His orders to the Pacific fleet and the chance to fly combat missions off a carrier came in the
spring of 1945, on the same day the Atomic
bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  Of
course his orders where changed.  He never went to sea and he was out of the Marines in 1946.
 
Ed stayed in the USMC as a reserve officer. 
He became a successful personality in the new TV medium, after the war.  His Marine command presence helped.  He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War.  He never got to fly his fighter aircraft, but he saw his share of raw combat.  He flew the Cessna O-1E Bird Dog, which is a single engine slow-moving unarmed plane. He functioned as an artillery spotter for the Marine batteries on the ground and as a forward controller for the Navy
& Marine fighter / bombers who flew in on fast moving jet engines, bombed the area and were gone in seconds.  Captain Ed was still circling the enemy looking for more targets, all the time taking North Korean and Chinese ground fire.


He stayed with the Marines as a reserve officer and retired in 1966 as a Colonel.


The world knows Ed as Ed McMahon of the Johnny Carson, Tonight Show.  One night I was watching the show when the subject of Colonel McMahon earning a number of Navy Air Medals came up.  Carson, a former Navy officer, understood the significance of these medals, but McMahon shrugged it off, saying that if you flew enough combat missions they just sort of gave them to you.  McMahon flew 85 combat missions over North Korea; he earned every one of those Air Medals.  The casualty rate, for flying forward air  controllers in Korea sometimes exceeded
50% of a squadrons manpower.  McMahon was lucky to have gotten home from that war.


Once a Marine, always a Marine. 


When the public was spitting (taking their personal safety into their own hands) at Marines on the streets of Southern California during Vietnam, Colonel McMahon was taking Marines off the streets and into his posh Beverley Hills home.  I spoke to a retired Marine aircrew member the day Colonel McMahon died and he personally remembered seeing McMahon at numerous Marine Air Bases in California in the 1960s. 

He was known for going to the Navy hospitals and visiting the wounded Marines and Sailors from this country’s conflicts, even in the last years of his life. 


Colonel McMahon presented awards and decorations to fellow Marines and attended many a Marine ceremony and the annual Marine Corps Birthday Ball.  He stayed true to his Corps as a board member of the Marine Corps
Scholarship Fund and as the honorary
chairman of the National Marine Corps Aviation Museum.  After retiring from the Marine Reserve, one night on the Johnny Carson show, members of the California Air National Guard came on stage.   


Colonel McMahon was commissioned a Brigadier General in the Air Guard in front of millions of Americans who watched it happen live.  You will not see anything like that on TV anymore. 


The three core values of a United States
Marine are; honor, courage and
commitment.  This is what a Marine is taught from the first day
of training and this is what that Marine believes.  That was
Colonel Edward P. McMahon Jr. USMCR Retired. Before he was a
national figure he was a true combat hero and a patriot the nation
needed then and this country needs
now.   


Your war is over.  Thank you Colonel
McMahon.  Semper Fi sir. 


23 June 2009


Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
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