Johnny Carson is best known as an American comedian who hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). He received six Emmy Awards, the Governor's Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. He also was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993. During the 1970s Carson became an American icon and remained so until his retirement in 1992.
Carson was born in Corning, Iowa, in 1925, to Homer Lloyd "Kit" Carson, a power company manager, and Ruth (Hook) Carson, who was of Irish descent. In 1948, Carson married Jody Wolcott. The marriage was volatile, with infidelities committed by both parties, and ended in divorce in 1963. He married Joanne Copeland on August 17, 1963 which ended in divorce. On September 30, 1972, Carson announced that he and former model Joanna Holland had been secretly married that afternoon. This marriage also ended in divorce. On June 20, 1987, Carson married Alexis Maas. The marriage lasted until his death in 2005.
Carson had three sons, Christopher, Cory and Richard. All three sons were from his first marriage. Richard Carson died on June 21, 1991, when his car plunged down a steep embankment along a paved service road off Highway 1 near Cayucos, California.
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