Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon. He was a one-of-a-kind talent and the greatest sidekick who ever lived. This unique comedian and television superstar was loved across the U.S. for decades and was known among his peers as having one of the biggest hearts in the industry.

Born March 6, 1923, McMahon began making television appearances as early as 1952 as the announcer for "American Bandstand". Over the next 50 years, he would go on to appear in over 150 television shows and presentations, appearing with stars such as Bob Hope, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, Flip Wilson, Rowan & Martin, Dinah Shore, Dean Martin, and a wealth of others.

But America remembers him best as the iconic sidekick to the King of Late Night on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson". For more than 30 years, McMahon introduced the Tonight Show with a drawn-out "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere's Johnny!" His booming voice and constant laughter alongside Carson earned him the nicknames the "Human Laugh Track" and "Toymaker to the King".

He was also host of the successful weekly syndicated series "Star Search", which began in 1983 and helped launch the careers of numerous actors, singers, choreographers, and comedians.

I personally was tickled during the time McMahon played a character named Charlie Dickerson (my last name) on Tom Arnold's short-lived "The Tom Show".

At the age of 86, after many health problems and financial strain, McMahon passed away on June 23, 2009 in Los Angeles.

I like Joan Rivers' sentiments in regards to McMahon: "Ed McMahon always, whenever he would come in a restaurant or see me anywhere, would make it his business to come over and say hello," Rivers said. "And that was going against, quote-unquote, 'boss' orders.' He went beyond the "Tonight Show" and had his own identity and America liked him very much. When you needed him, he was a rock."

Don Rickles and Dick Clark stated similar stories.

Ed McMahon was a giant talent, a giant personality, and had a giant heart.

Rest peacefully, Ed. You did great work.

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