Longtime Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon, renown for his iconic catch phrase “Here’s Johnny,” has passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 86.
McMahon’s publicist Howard Bragman says the legendary entertainer died peacefully at the Ronald Reagan/UCLA Medical Center shortly after midnight Tuesday.
McMahon’s legacy is defined by his stint on the Tonight Show, where he roared his trademark cackles for three decades, leaving the show following Johnny Carson’s 1992 retirement. Carson passed away in 2005 at the age of 79.
Removed from “beautiful downtown Burbank,” McMahon cemented his showbiz resume with stints as the Star Search host, where nascent household names like Arsenio Hall and Britney Spears would ply their craft en rote to stardom. He was a spokesperson for a variety of organizations, most notably Publisher’s Clearing House.
Prior to showbiz, McMahon had a successful career in the military, and fought in both World War II and the Korean War, iMDb reported.
He hooked up with Carson in 1957, working with the future “Carnac” on a daytime game show called Who Do You Trust?; Carson’s well-placed trust in McMahon’s talent was evident, as the legendary late night duo transitioned from the game show to The Tonight Show, embedding themselves as in American culture beginning with the start of their 30-year run in 1962.
In recent years, the late night stalwart had been plagued by poor health and finances: he broke his neck in a fall in 2007, his $4.5 million home was nearly foreclosed upon in 2008, and he was hospitalized in Feb. in a Southern California intensive care unit for treatment of pneumonia and bone cancer, according to iMDb.
McMahon was married three times, and leaves behind a widow, Pam. He is survived by his five living children; his son Michael, died at 44 in 1995 after a bout with liver cancer.