Ed McMahon died in his sleep this morning. McMahon is best known, of course, as the guy who used to carry around really big checks from the American Family Publisher sweepstakes, which he’d hand to unsuspecting winners, who would often pass out in their driveways. He was also the host of “Star Search,” which was the 80s version of “American Idol,” only the contestants not only sang, but they occasionally danced with their poodles, as well. More recently, McMahon was popular for appearing in television commercials with MC Hammer to make light of their lost fortunes.
McMahon was also Johnny Carson’s sidekick on an obscure late night talk show for about 30 years, where it was his duty to introduce the show and then guffaw occasionally. As sidekicks go, with apologies to Paul Schaffer, McMahon was the best there ever was and best there ever will be. He was iconic, and the most successful late night talk show in the history of television wouldn’t have been the same without his signature opening, and the energetic banter between Carson and McMahon. He was one of a fucking kind, people.
At 86 years old, McMahon has cashed life’s biggest check. He will be missed.