Carson hosted several TV shows before his period on The Tonight Show, including the game show Earn Your Vacation (1954), the variety show The Johnny Carson Show (1955 - 1956), a regular panelist gig on the first version of To Tell The Truth until 1962 and a five-year stint on the game show Who Do You Trust? (19571962), during which Carson met long-time sidekick Ed McMahon.
In 1960, Carson was a candidate to play the role of TV writer Rob Petrie in a new sitcom created by Carl Reiner entitled Head of the Family. At the suggestion of producer Sheldon Leonard, however, Dick Van Dyke was given the role and the series was subsequently retitled The Dick Van Dyke Show.
On March 19, 1999, Johnny Carson suffered a severe heart attack at his home in Santa Monica, California. He was sleeping when he suddenly awoke with severe chest pains. He was rushed to a hospital in nearby Santa Monica where he underwent a quadruple-bypass surgery. He died on January 23, 2005.
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