Johnny Carson - Biography

Last Modified: Sep 24, 2022

Johnny Carson
Nick Name: The King of Late-night
Profession: Comedian, Actor, TV host, Musician, Screenwriter
Best Known For: The Tonight Show (TV show)
Salary: Under Review
Net Worth: $300 million

Personal Details

Born on : October 23, 1925
Birth Name /
Full Name:
John William Carson
Birth Place: Corning, Iowa, USA
Horoscope: Scorpio
Father's Name: Homer Lloyd Carson
Mother's Name: Ruth Elizabeth Carson
Siblings: 2

Dick Carson (brother)
Catherine Carson (sister)

University: University of Nebraska
Ethnicity: Multi-ethnic (English, Irish, German, Scottish, Swiss, Dutch, French)
Nationality: American


Sexual Orientation: Straight
Marital Status: Married
Married Date: June 20, 1987
Wife's Name: Alexis Maas

Jody Wolcott (Oct 1949-May 1963)
Joanne Copeland (Aug 1963-June 1972)
Joanna Holland (Sep 1972- March 1983)

Children: 3

Christopher Carson (son)
Cory Carson (son)
Richard Carson (son)

Died on: Jan 23, 2005 (aged 79)
Cause of death: Emphysema

Body Measurements

Height: 1.79 meter (5 feet 10 inch)
Weight: N/A
Hair Color: Grey
Eye Color: Dark Brown
Shoe Size: N/A
Bicep Size: N/A
Chest Size: N/A
Waist Size: N/A

Table of contents [Hide]

Who is Johnny Carson?

Johnny Carson, known as The King of Late-night hosted The Tonight Show for almost three decades! Known for his witty but shy personality he loved his privacy and the people loved him. Born in Corning, Iowa he joined the army and later as a broadcaster at WOW radio.

Source: Legacy (Johnny Carson)

Johnny Carson – Age, Parents, Siblings

Johnny Carson was born on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, U.S.A. Her birth name/full name is John William Carson. His mother is Ruth Elizabeth (Hook) Carson (1901–1985) and his father is Homer Lloyd "Kit" Carson (1899–1983), a power company manager. 

He has two siblings- a sister named Catherine Carson and a brother named Dick Carson, who is now an Emmy Awards-winning director. 

Education, Ethnicity

He was raised in nearby towns of Avoca, Clarinda, and Red Oak in southwest Iowa. At the age of 8, the family moved to Norfolk, Nebraska. After his graduation from high school, he attended the University of Nebraska, during his time in the navy. At first, he joined the University to major in journalism to become a comedy writer. But after a few months, he changed his major to speech and drama to be a radio performer.

In 1949, he graduated with a Bachelor of arts degree in radio and speech with a minor in physics.

His ethnicity includes English, Irish, German, Scottish, Swiss, Dutch, and French.

Also read: Lorraine Kelly - TV presenter of GMTV with Lorraine 

Source: Johnny Carson (Johnny Carson with William Bendix on Johnny Carson Show in 1955)

Johnny Carson – Girlfriend, Wife, Children, Affair, Divorce

Johnny Carson married Jody Wolcott on 1 October 1949. But the relationship, marriage was a troubled one. Both had affairs during their marriage and the couple divorced on 25 May 1963. They had three children together. Their three sons are named Christopher Carson, Cory Carson (born 1953), and Richard Carson (born 1950).

On August 17, 1963, Carson married Joanne Copeland. But the couple divorced on 21 June 1972 and Copeland received $6,000 per month in alimony until Johnny Carson’s death in 2005.

Also read: Greg Daniels - Screenwriter, TV director, TV producer 

On September 30, 1972, Carson shocked his friends when he announced that he and his girlfriend former model Joanna Holland had secretly married that afternoon. 

But this marriage too could not last and the Holland divorced on March 8, 1983. The divorce was a hefty one- an 80-page settlement while the ex-wife received $20 million in cash and property.

Johnny Carson soon found love again. He got into a relationship with Alexis Maas and married her on June 20, 1987. They were still married until Carson’s death on 23 January 2005.

Son’s death

Carson’s son Richard died on June 21, 1991, in a car accident in California. His car had plunged down a  steep embankment, while he was taking photographs.

Johnny Carson paid tribute to him on the first Tonight Show after his son's death and on May 22, 1992, Carson’s last show by featuring a photo taken by Richard.

Also read: Rush Limbaugh - Actor, Author, TV presenter 

Source: GettyImages (Johnny Carson, Jody Wolcott, and their three sons)

Johnny Carson – Career

Early Career

When Carson was around 8-12 years old, he began to be interested in entertainment. He also developed talents during these years. He began to perform as an amateur actor at the age of 14. While in the nay, which he joined on June 8, 1943, he continued to perform as a magician for $25 per appearance.

Johnny Carson’s career began in 1950. He began as a broadcaster at WOW radio and television in Omaha. He soon was the host of the TV program called The Squirrel's Nest. In 1951, he was referred to television station KNXT, which was owned by CBS. He then went on to host Carson's Cellar (1951 to 1953), Earn Your Vacation (1954), The Johnny Carson Show (1955–1956), ABC-TV's Who Do You Trust? (1957–1962), NBC’s The Tonight Show (1962-1992), among others.

Also read: Kaitlyn Dever - Actress of Booksmart 

Since his retirement from The Tonight Show in 1992, he has made very few guest appearances. He voiced himself on the May 13, 1993, episode of The Simpsonscalled David Letterman on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1993, and even made an appearance on the show on May 13, 1994. Johnny Carson also appeared in the 1993 NBC special Bob Hope: The First 90 Years

Carson also used to write and send jokes to David Letterman for his monologue, a fact Letterman admitted after Carson’s death. 

Also read: Les Dennis - TV presenter, Comedian - ex-husband of Amanda Holden

Source: Los Angeles Times (Johnny Carson with a guest on The Tonight Show)

Johnny Carson – Loved the privacy

Carson was a shy off-camera and was well known for avoiding large parties. His friends and associates knew him to be socially uncomfortable and socially “invisible”. 

Johnny Carson’s lavish $81 million home in Malibu had only one bedroom. And if any friends and family members were to stay over, they would have to sleep in the guest house across the street.

Johnny Carson – Death

Johnny Carson had been a chain smoker for most of his life. On March 19, 1999, Carson suffered a heart attack. So he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery. On  January 23, 2005, Carson passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He passed away due to respiratory failure arising from emphysema.

Also read: Alex Trebek - TV host/ TV presenter of Jeopardy 

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Tags : The Tonight Show The Johnny Carson Show Who Do You Trust? Carson Johnny Carson


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