Ed McMahon dies at 86 - News - People - The Independent

Ed McMahon dies at 86

Ed McMahon, a fixture on US late-night television for 30 years as the full-throated announcer and sidekick for Johnny Carson on NBC's "The Tonight Show," died yesterday at 86 after battling a series of illnesses in recent months.

The veteran TV personality best known for his nightly introduction of Carson in a deep, booming voice with the drawn-out line, "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" died at a Los Angeles-area hospital, and was immediately hailed by friends and former colleagues as an icon of American popular culture.

"He died early this morning with his wife and loved ones by his side," his spokesman Howard Bragman said. McMahon had been battling pneumonia, among many other illnesses.

Outgoing, affable and possessing a robust, baritone voice, McMahon began his career with stints as a bingo caller, carnival barker and boardwalk pitchman before becoming a broadcast announcer and TV host.

Trained as a US Marine fighter pilot during World War II, he flew missions in Korea in the 1950s.

He went on to become one of the most celebrated sidekicks in TV history as Carson's right-hand man on "The Tonight Show" from 1962 to 1992, when Carson retired as host.

The gregarious McMahon, a frequent comic foil for the Carson during ad-libbed banter at the top of the show, was familiar even off camera for his "Hi-oooooh!" and frequent guffaws at Carson's monologue jokes, especially when a punch line fell flat. Carson died in 2005 at age 79.

"Ed's introduction of Johnny was a classic broadcasting ritual -- reassuring and exciting. Ed was a true broadcaster, and an integral part of Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show.' We will miss him," talk show host David Letterman said yesterday.



ENDURING CATCHPHRASE

McMahon's signature introduction of Carson endured as a catch-phrase. Jack Nicholson's maniacal character in the 1980 movie thriller "The Shining" announced "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!" as he burst through a door to menace his wife with an axe.

McMahon was a leading figure on several other TV shows, too, including the talent show "Star Search" in the 1980s.

He was a long-time co-host of Jerry Lewis' annual telethon benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and he became well-known as the presenter of the American Family Publishing sweepstakes, as well as a pitchman on numerous TV commercials.

Lewis said McMahon was "a dear, dear friend. We were always making jokes, cracking each other up ... It's hard to imagine doing the (telethon) without him."

California governor and former movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger said America had lost "one of its greatest and most memorable television personalities."

"From 'Star Search' to the 30 years he spent in our living rooms as an integral part of the 'Tonight Show,' Ed brought joy and laughter to millions of Americans," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

McMahon made headlines a year ago when he defaulted on a $4.8 million (2.9 million pound) mortgage on his six-bedroom Beverly Hills mansion, although he later found a buyer and avoided foreclosure.

The star blamed his financial woes on having broken his neck about 18 months earlier, leaving him unable to work. He also sued Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, accusing it of failing to diagnose the neck fracture and botching two operations.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week