Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Veteran TV Announcer and Sidekick Ed McMahon Dies

You've probably heard by now that the ailing Ed McMahon has just passed away, at the age of 86. Best remembered for his years co-hosting the Tonight show with Johnny Carson, he was for a generation the very model of a television emcee, his amiable presence as comfortable as an old shoe.

You should read his obits and his bio (a good one on Wikipedia here), but most of all it's good at a time to watch him in action. To that end, let's look at a few clips showing the many sides of Ed McMahon.

First up is a clip from Tonight, with Johnny Carson sharing some memories and footage of a slightly tipsy and amusing McMahon:

McMahon, post-Tonight, hosted the talent competition show Star Search in the mid-1980s; here's the opening to the show.

McMahon also frequently co-hosted and did announcing duties on the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, and here's a clip of them singing together on the 2000 show.

As a longtime spokesman for Budweiser Beer, McMahon frequently showed up in commercials for the product, including this one co-starring Frank Sinatra.

And here's an appearance by Ed on an episode of The Tom Green Show where he talks about making that Sinatra commercial.

There's also an eight-part interview from the Archive of American Television with McMahon, where he discusses his long career in television. Part One is here, and you can access the others from this page, too. You might also enjoy this nice article and interview with him from the pages of Entertainment Weekly magazine, from 2005.

Ed McMahon was one of those ubiquitous performers who always seemed to be busy working, and who also always seemed to have a good sense of humor about himself, enabling him to adapt to the changing times and make himself relevant to many different age groups. That's one reason why the fairly recent publicity about McMahon's money woes made the news at all -- by this point in his life he was like everybody's elderly relative, and our sympathies were with him.

He's gone now, but his legacy as the consummate sidekick survives, and The Flaming Nose salutes Ed McMahon's life and his achievements on this sad day for his family, friends and fans.


Jane said...

I saw Ed about 10 years ago in an LA restaurant. He was having lunch with Dolly Parton. A very charming and personable fellow. He lived a good long life. I'm sorry he had to have troubles with his house foreclosing at the end. There is an excellent "Dog Whisperer" episode with Ed and his wife (and very naughty dogs) that came out a few seasons back. So long Ed. Poor old Walter Cronkite may be next. Then it will truly be the end of an era.

Jane said...

Thanks for getting this wonderful memorial post up so quickly Lisa!