Ed McMahon USMC - RIP -

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Ed McMahon USMC - RIP -

Post by West-Front »

Television legend and longtime 'Tonight Show' sidekick Ed McMahon has passed away. He was 86 years old.

McMahon died shortly after midnight at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. His publicist Howard Bragman didn't give a cause of death, but said Ed had a "multitude of health problems the last few months." Always the showman, McMahon made a name for himself thanks to his boisterous personality, extended introductions of Mr. Carson and his catchphrase, "Heyo!"

For 30 years, McMahon was Johnny Carson's trusty sidekick on 'The Tonight Show' as the two pioneered what late night television has come to be known as. McMahon stayed on board until Carson handed the 'Tonight' reigns to Jay Leno in 1992. He also served as the longtime co-host of Jerry Lewis' annual Labor Day telethon benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Aside from his entertainment career, McMahon was a colonel in the United States Marines, serving during the late 1940s and 1950s.

In recent years, McMahon made headlines due to financial troubles, where his bankruptcy and possible home foreclosure led to him getting more work via commercials. In February, Bragman announced that McMahon had been hospitalized for nearly a month with pneumonia and that other medical problems emerged, though little information was given since then. "It's serious. He's an 85-year old man with a number of medical issues going on," Bragman told Reuters at the time. McMahon's hospitalization followed a difficult year for the veteran TV celebrity, most famous for his nightly "Heeeeeeere's Johnny!" introduction of Carson for 30 years and for his hosting the TV talent show "Star Search." In addition to his stints on "The Tonight Show" and "Star Search," McMahon became well-known as the presenter of the American Family Publishing sweepstakes and as a pitchman for numerous commercials, most notably for Budweiser beer.


When the United States began gearing up for World War II, McMahon wanted to become a Marine fighter pilot. Since the Navy's V-5 program required two years of college, he enrolled in Boston College. When the Navy relaxed the two-year requirement, McMahon dropped out of school and signed up. In early 1943, he first went to a civilian-run Wartime Training School in Texarkana where the Navy evaluated cadets' potential by checking them out in a Piper Cub. Then came the three-month Preflight School at Athens, Georgia. McMahon received primary training at Dallas and intermediate training at Pensacola. McMahon received the single engine carrier syllabus and was assigned to the Marines. After receiving his commission and wings in early 1945, McMahon was sent to the Corsair Operational Training Unit at Lee Field, Green Cove Springs, Florida. Upon completion of training, he was "plowed back" and became an instructor in the same unit. On the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, McMahon received orders to join the Marine carrier program on the West Coast. His orders were cancelled and he returned to civilian life.

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