Johnny Carson Net Worth

July 14, 2023
2 mins read

John William Carson was born on 23 October 1925, in Coming, Iowa USA, of part Irish descent. He was probably the leading TV talk show host in the US for 30 years, until retiring in 1992. Carson passed away in 2005 in California.

Many people are interested in Johnny Carson’s net worth – how rich was he? Johnny Carson’s net worth has been estimated at $300 million.

Johnny Carson Net Worth $200 Million

Like many kids, Johnny Carson was fascinated by magicians, so bought a kit and gave his first show at 14, earning $3. Other performances followed at local parties, until he joined the US Navy in 1943, training as a communications officer but still practicing tricks, even on the Secretary of the Navy.Of course this was the start of his net worth, small as it was.

After Navy service, Johnny graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1949 with a BA degree in speech and drama, while still performing part-time, as he had decided to try and work in radio. He actually secured his first job at the WOW station in Omaha, where he was soon hosting a morning TV show called “The Squirrel’s Nest”, part of which was Johnny satirically performing, with local celebrities as his target. His net worth was beginning to grow.

Carson was soon referred to the Los Angeles TV station KNXT – owned by CBS – which was a big step-up in his career, as he was subsequently invited to write for and be a guest on several shows, including by Red Skelton and Jack Benny, as well as hosting his own self-titled but still modest show in 1955. Never one to stay still for long at that point, Johnny then moved to New York, and hosted “Who Do You Trust” for five years. All these projects added steadily to Johnny’s net worth.

Although not realising it at the time, Johnny Carson’s move to this daytime TV show was  most significant, as it allowed him freedom to ad lib and display his real talent for humour and satire, but in a friendly way which did not unnecessarily embarrass guests. After five years, NBC convinced Johnny to become host of the popular ‘Tonight’ show and, as the saying goes, he never looked back. Despite Johnny being fearful of the length of the show, and therefore keeping audiences interested, the show and himself were a success, so that the name was changed to “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” after a year. Of course, this was to become the biggest source of his net worth for the next 30 years.

In the 1960s, Johnny’s show gained enormous popularity, and was broadcast live. During the peak of his success in the show during the 70s and 80s, Johnny always remained a casual person, and relaxed conversational interacting with guests of the show was the main reason, and why the show maintained its popularity. This was certainly Johnny’s own style, but was also why he had been selected, as previous hosts had adopted a similar style, and why his popularity remained stable until he retired.

Of course Johnny Carson’s success and popularity did not go unrewarded, and over 30 years he won six Emmy Awards, the Governor’s Award in 1980, and the Peabody Award in 1985. He was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, and finally a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993.

In his private life, Johnny Carson was actually a shy and quiet person, completely avoiding the limelight and refusing to discuss his personal life, beliefs or preferences. He was married four times, firstly to Jody Wolcott(1948-63), with whom he had his only three children, sons. In 1963 the couple divorced and later that year John Carson married Joanne Copeland, the marriage lasting nine years. Johnny was then married to model Joanna Holland(1972-83), and finally to Alexis Maas from 1987 until his death from respiratory failure in 2005. After Carson’s death, a huge amount of his net worth, i.e. $200 million went to the charity organization “The Johnny Carson Foundation”.


Daniel Wanburg

As the Managing Editor at Net Worth Post, I lead a talented team in delivering compelling content on the lives and achievements of influential figures. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for storytelling, I oversee the production of insightful biographies that resonate with our audience. My role involves not only managing the editorial process but also conducting research, crafting engaging narratives, and ensuring the accuracy and quality of our publications.

At NetWorthPost, we strive to provide our readers with in-depth profiles that offer valuable insights into the worlds of business, entertainment, and beyond. Through meticulous research and captivating storytelling, we bring to light the remarkable journeys and successes of individuals who inspire and captivate us.

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