86 (passed away Jun. 23rd, 2009)
Mar. 6th, 1923
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Ed McMahon's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Ed McMahon's first appearance before a microphone was as a 15-year-old "caller" at a bingo game in Maine. After that, he spent the next three years touring the state fair and carnival circuit. A Marine fighter pilot during World War II, McMahon sold vegetable slicers on Atlantic City's boardwalk to put himself through Catholic University in Washington, DC. In the 1950s, he hosted a late-night interview show in Philadelphia before working as a clown on the show "Big Top" (1950). His next assignment was as a fighter pilot during the Korean War. After that, he resumed his career in television. In 1959, he was hired as Johnny Carson (I)'s straight man on the daytime quiz show "Do You Trust Your Wife" (1956). When Carson succeeded Jack Paar (I) on NBC's "Tonight Starring Jack Paar" (1957), which became "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962), he took McMahon with him. This job lasted for 30 years and made McMahon wealthy and famous. On the big screen, he played straight roles in the dramatic The Incident (1967) -- for which he got very good reviews -- and in the comic Fun with Dick and Jane (1977). He also appeared in made-for-TV movies and hosted daytime game shows in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, McMahon teamed with Dick Clark (I) on "TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes" (1984) and hosted his own long-running talent show, "Star Search" (1983). He also made commercial appearances for a multitude of products. In 1994, he was cast as himself in Love Affair (1994) with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.
- Retired from U.S.M.C. reserve status in 1983 to host _"Star Search" (1983)_ (qv) full time, a show on which such performers as 'Britney Spears' (qv) and 'Arsenio Hall' (qv) (his own successor to the show) were later discovered.
- Son, Michael, died of liver cancer at age 44, on July 28, 1995.
- Was a decorated Marine fighter pilot during WWII.
- Hospitalized in intensive care in a Los Angeles for treatment of pneumonia and bone cancer [February 27, 2009].
- Was a huge fan of 'W.C. Fields' (qv).
- Was present for the 2007 demolishing of the old Burbank studio where he had taped the last _"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962)_ (qv), calling it an end of an era.
- Retired as a Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. During World War II, he was a pilot-instructor and test pilot. During the Korean War, he flew 85 combat missions after being called back to active service in 1952. Was commissioned a Brigadier General in the California Air National Guard in 1966 and continued to serve after he began his acting career. Along with 'James Stewart (I)' (qv), he held the highest active military rank of any actor in history. McMahon was the highest-ranking officer to become an actor, and Stewart was the established actor who achieved the highest rank. Both were decorated combat aviators.
- Graduated from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.