Television Personality. Born Edward Leo Peter McMahon, Jr. He was raised in Lowell, Massachusetts, and as a teenager worked as a bingo caller in Maine. He joined the Marines for World War II, serving as a fighter pilot, flight instructor and test pilot. After the war he attended Catholic University to study speech and drama, working as a pitchman on the Atlantic City boardwalk to fund his studies, and receiving his bachelors degree in 1949. McMahon returned to active duty during the Korean War, flying O-1E Bird Dogs on tactical air control and artillery spotting missions. He remained active in the Marine Reserves, retiring as a Colonel in 1966, and later receiving an honorary commission as a California National Guard Brigadier General. His first broadcasting job was at WLLH radio in Lowell, and he began his television career at Philadelphia’s WCAU. In the 1950s, he emceed the game shows “Missing Links”, “Snap Judgment”, “Concentration” and “Who Dunnit?”. McMahon and Johnny Carson worked together on the game show “Who Do You Trust?” before joining “The Tonight Show” in 1962, and for more than 30 years, McMahon introduced each night’s episode with a drawn-out “Heeeeeere’s Johnny!” and served as the on air sounding board for Carson’s jokes. For many years he co-hosted the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He also appeared in several films, including “The Incident” (1967), and “Fun With Dick and Jane” (1977). McMahon hosted the syndicated series “Star Search”, and with Dick Clark he co-hosted “TV’s Bloopers And Practical Jokes”. In 2004, he became the announcer and co-host of “Alf’s Hit Talk Show” on TV Land. For many years he appeared in TV ads for the American Family Publishers sweepstakes. McMahon authored two memoirs, “Here’s Johnny!” and “For Laughing Out Loud”. He suffered health and financial setbacks later in life, but remained active as host of “Lifestyles Live”, a weekend talk program aired on the USA Radio Network. He died at the UCLA Medical Center after treatment for pneumonia and other health problems.
- March, 06, 1923
- Detroit, Michigan
- June, 23, 2009
- Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death
- attributed his death to the many health problems he had
- Cremated, Ashes given to family