Ed McMahon dies at 86

    Before Ed McMahon became the voice of the Tonight Show for 30 years, he was scratching out a living on Philadelphia television. He passed away yesterday at age 86. McMahon worked for every TV studio in the city in the early 1950’s.

    Before Ed McMahon became the voice of the Tonight Show for 30 years, he was scratching out a living on Philadelphia television. He passed away yesterday at age 86. McMahon worked for every TV studio in the city in the early 1950’s.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090623pcmcmahon.mp3]

    In the early days of TV, Ed McMahon was on any way, every way he could be – he did news commentary, he did weather, he sold cars. In an recent interview for CBS, McMahon remembers his days as a clown.

    McMahon: I could do a pratfall, I could take a pie in the face, I could big hit with one of those big wooden paddles. I loved those times. I did it for 8 years.

    He had a job with channel 10 for a while and was always doing freelance gigs. That’s how retired broadcaster Lew Klein came to know him.

    Klein: He could meet and interview people in an easygoing way. He was a comfortable, informal personality. Very much the way he was with Johnny Carson.

    Klein says McMahon was working as a maitre’d in Valley Forge before joining Carson.

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