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This Week in L.A. History: The King of Late Night Bids “A Heartfelt Good Night”
Johnny Carson says farewell to television on May 22, 1992.
After hosting 4,531 episodes of The Tonight Show, Johnny Carson said his goodbye to television audiences in May of 1992. Carson had no guests on the last episode, opting instead to look back at his favorite memories with a studio audience of family, friends, and crew. The retrospective show was ranked #10 on TV’s Most Unforgettable Finales in 2011.
Throughout his 30-year tenure, Carson captivated millions of Americans with his wit and charisma. The comedian solidified the casual, conversational approach to interviewing that has become commonplace among modern television show hosts including Jay Leno and David Letterman.
Carson received numerous awards for his work on The Tonight Show including six Emmy Awards, a Governor’s Award, a Peabody Personal Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1987, Carson was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame and later received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993.
The deep and enduring affection displayed by the 50 million viewers that tuned in upon Johnny Carson’s exit from television, solidify his place in history as a true American icon.