Ed McMahon

Television legend Ed McMahon has been hospitalized with pneumonia for nearly a month and is in serious condition, his publicist said Friday.

"He's getting great care and he's a fighter," Howard Bragman, a longtime friend to the 85-year-old Tonight Show announcer, told TVGuide.com. "It's absolutely serious."

But he added: "I saw him and he's strong and he's very optimistic. He's a Marine and a fighter and we're very optimistic."

Bragman would not confirm a report saying McMahon also has bone cancer.

McMahon, Johnny Carson's announcer and comic foil for more than 30 years and the host himself of Star Search and other show, was in good spirits during an interview with TVGuide.com in October, despite having spent the last several months recovering from a broken neck and trying to save his Beverly Hills home from foreclosure.  

The actor made light of his financial troubles, first by rapping in ads for a credit reporting company, and later by appearing in an with MC Hammer, inviting people to sell their gold for cash.

He also sued Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and two physicians, claiming negligence, elder abuse, battery, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Attorneys for the hospital, where McMahon was treated for the neck injury, contested the claims. But a judge ruled in September that the lawsuit could go on and that McMahon could seek punitive damages.