Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson’s perennial sidekick on NBC’s The Tonight Show died today at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Hospital. He was 86. According to McMahon publicist Howard Bragman, the entertainer’s passing was from a "multitude of health problems the last few months."
Born in Detroit on March 6, 1923, McMahon got an early start on television as the announcer of a game show in 1956 called Who Do You Trust?, which was hosted by Johnny Carson. When Caron succeeded Jack Paar as host of The Tonight Show in 1962, he took McMahon with him, and the two worked side by side for 29 years. Never one to remain idle, McMahon appeared throughout the years in theatrical movies like The Incident, Fun With Dick and Jane and Love Affair; as a guest star in series like Here’s Lucy, Ellery Queen, Burke’s Law, Newhart, Nurses and Baywatch; as a co-host opposite Dick Clark on TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes; as host of long-running syndicated talent show Star Search; and as a panelist for countless game shows and pitchmeister for numerous products. He was also the author of three books, including When Television Was Young in 2007. McMahon, of course, was also an active participant in Jerry Lewis’ annual MDA Labor Day Telethon.
McMahon was married three times (including his 17-year marriage to Pam Hurn) and was the father of five children.