RIP Ed McMahon, America's Right-Hand Man

TV personality Ed McMahon died early this morning after months of ongoing health ailments, among them bone cancer and pneumonia, according to The New York Times. Though in his final years, he was plagued with a home foreclosure, he is most fondly remembered for his television appearances, most notably as a regular on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He was 86.

Before Andy Richter, before Paul Shaffer, there was Ed McMahon. He was the original yes-man, the first sidekick, the one-and-only yin to Carson's yang. He laughed when he needed to laugh, he kept quiet when he needed to keep quiet, and most importantly, he kept Carson in his place. The two grew into a late-night package deal, one not complete without the other, and were consequently welcomed into American homes as a trustworthy, jovial pair.

McMahon, like Carson, set the standard for late-night shows, which were once dominated by Carson's own but of late have morphed into a multi-player battle for ratings supremacy. The host-plus-sidekick formula, perfected by Carson and McMahon, doesn't quite live up to the standards they set -- Shaffer serves as both color commenter and bandleader to David Letterman, while Richter's awkward quips to Conan O'Brien pale in comparison to McMahon's hearty laugh and lovable "Hey-o!"

McMahon also hosted Star Search, the pre-Idol Idol, where tiny talents like Britney, Justin and Christina got their starts. In short, he was the precursor to many things we take for granted in contemporary pop culture, as well as a reassuring presence, and for that we must thank him.

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Jun 25, 2009
I use to love Star search that's the only thing i liked him in.
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Jun 24, 2009
Just a week before his death, local New York TV stations again carried the 2007 New York Lottery commercial featuring Ed, the late Don LaFontaine, and veteran game show host/announcer Johnny Gilbert (currently the "house announcer" on "JEOPARDY!"). I think it was fitting that ad appeared again just before McMahon passed away. Now there's only ONE of them alive from that diner's table....
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Jun 24, 2009
One of the true icons of TV history. Shaffer and Richter will never be good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Ed. An era has truly ended.....RIP
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Jun 24, 2009
Thanks Ed RIP
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Jun 24, 2009
May you rest in peace Ed. You have suffered long but you will be missed.My
prayers and thoughts are with your family.You had hit some hard time as of
late, like all of us but you handled it with grace and charm.Unfortunately fame is fleeting and you haven't had the respect that came with your contri
butions to the trade and for that I am truly sorry. Good bye Old Friend.
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Jun 24, 2009
Johnnie Carson & Ed McMahon were the greatest!!! I remember "Who Do You Trust". That was the funniest show ever!! He will be missed. Blessings to the family.
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Jun 24, 2009
He will be missed. The best Tonight Show sidekick ever. No one else even close.
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Jun 24, 2009
RIP
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Jun 24, 2009
Rejoice! as he is in heaven now. Dear Ed, Thank you so much for been such a wonderful person you will be missed... but you will be in our hearts forever! May God Bless You!
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Jun 24, 2009
Another all time great passes into history. I miss Johnny and Ed and all of their old school comic greats more than I can say.
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Jun 24, 2009
Conan O'Brain is a jerk and is stupid, there is a big difference between being Stupid and Funny.................. Please find someone else to host the Tonight Show............. NBC is sinking faster than the TITANIC.
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Jun 24, 2009
Andy Richter? Paul Schaffer? Are you kidding? How can you even mention them in same breath? You must not have been around then-- but there were
giants in show biz, true greatness,, Ed was one of these.... I couldn't watch richter of Schaffer at all to tell you the truth, not for 5 minutes.. I watched Ed for twenty years... what are we talking about here? c'mon!
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Jun 24, 2009
He sure had a rough go of it this past year. Other than his health, he had to deal with the possibility of loosing his home not to long ago. He was an Icon, a legend!!! He was on TV all those years with Johnny Carson, also doing TV commercials, making guest appearances on TV shows and then not able to pay his mortgage and possibly loose his home. That must have devastated him.

Well, he has no more worries now. Rest in Peace Mr. McMahon! Like everyone is saying...You will be missed !!! May God Bless You !!!
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Jun 24, 2009
R.I.P., you were a legend and absolutely you will be missed....
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Jun 24, 2009
He shall be MISSED!!
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Jun 24, 2009
R.I.P. You will be missed.
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Jun 24, 2009
This is such a shock. He'll be missed. I loved Star Search and he was just an icon, no doubt about that.
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Jun 24, 2009
RIP :(
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Jun 24, 2009
I can think of only one thing to say in tribute... "Hey-o!"
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Jun 24, 2009
RIP. A legend.
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Jun 24, 2009
Poor guy :(
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Jun 23, 2009
RIP =( I can’t believe the legendary Ed McMahon died today. He will forever be missed. I found this great gallery that reminisces Ed’s good times. Wanted to share the link with you during this sad time: http://www.iheartradio.com/cc-common/gallery/display.html?album_id=184581&cmp=ncle_edmcmahon
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Jun 23, 2009
Conan needs to be prepared tonight.. theres potential for a lot of viewers on conan's show tonight to see if he bring up mcmahon and carson.. and if he does he needs to do it right.. and that could potentially gain him a bigger base if he shows he will respect the shows past by honoring mcmahon tonight..
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Jun 23, 2009
At first I thought it was Mr. McMahn from WWE, and I was like "WHAAAAT?!"
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Jun 23, 2009
Thank you Ed "Hey-o!"
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Jun 23, 2009
Wow, this is shocking. I was just talking about him yesterday with my mother. So sad. I think one last "Hey-o!" is in order.
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