Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon
“Sis Boom Bah”

JohnnyCarson (whose mother was of Irish descent) was an American television host, comedian, writer, producer, actor, and musician known for thirty years as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). He received six Emmy Awards, the Governor’s Award, and a 1985 Peabody Award. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987. Johnny Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993.

Although his show was already successful by the end of the 1960s, during the 1970s Carson became an American icon and remained so until his retirement in 1992. He adopted a casual, conversational approach with extensive interaction with guests, an approach pioneered by Arthur Godfrey and previous Tonight Show hosts Steve Allen and Jack Paar.

Ed McMahon (also of Irish descent) was born in Detroit, Michigan to Edward Leo Peter McMahon, Sr. a fund-raiser and entertainer, and his wife Eleanor (Russell) McMahon. He was raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ed began his career as a bingo caller in Maine when he was fifteen. Prior to this, he worked as a carnival barker for three years also in Maine. He put himself through college as a pitchman for vegetable slicers on the Atlantic City boardwalk. His first broadcasting job was at WLLH-AM in Lowell and he began his television career in Philadelphia at WCAU-TV.

The name McMahon is arguably best known  because of Johnny Carson’s singular sidekick, Ed McMahon who probably did more for the name’s contemporary notoriety than any of the distinguished medieval lords, Armagh bishops, and military commanders who also bore that moniker. The name derives from two geographically distinct septs, one in Clare and one in Monaghan, but both originating from the Irish Mac Mathghamhna, which in turn is said to be derived from the early Irish word for “bear.”

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Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon “Sis Boom Bah”
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