(entertainer, born October 23, 1925, Corning, Iowa; died January 23, 2005, Los Angeles, California)
Since 1962, watching the "Tonight" show was for millions of Americans a nightly ritual, particularly Johnny Carson's opening monologue that chronicled the events of our nation for three volatile decades. It's been described as "a magnifying glass on American culture," "the nation's emotional barometer (also weathervane and thermometer)," "a national institution," and "the national comforter."
"Carson is one of the most influential performers in the history of the [television] medium," wrote James Wolcott in The Village Voice. "As a comedian, he is unquestionably a master.