Ed McMahon was honored by dozens of friends, family and celebrities, including Tom Arnold, who said the late Tonight Show sidekick was someone "100 percent of the people liked."
Arnold, who worked with McMahon on the 1997 WB sitcom The Tom Show, joked about McMahon's reunion with talk-show king Johnny Carson in heaven.
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"Hey, Johnny, great news: I brought Farrah (Fawcett) and Michael Jackson with me. We're gonna have a hell of a show tonight," Arnold said at the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences tribute in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Other celebrities in attendance included TV host Leeza Gibbons, who called McMahon a "big brother" and an inspiration to other TV personalities. "He could host anything, he could sell anything. And he never ever lost his cool on camera," she said.
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The event also honored McMahon — a former Marine — for his military service. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Mike Lehnert said McMahon "didn't flaunt" his military record, but lived "[his] life at full throttle." Lehnert recounted McMahon's service in World War II as a test pilot and flight instructor and his active duty in the Korean War. He flew 85 missions before retiring as a full colonel in 1966.
McMahon's family was also on hand. His son, Jeff, honored his dad's good humor and fun personality. "For my dad, life was a festival, a celebratory experience," he said. "No occasion was ever mundane."
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McMahon's wife, Pam, fought back tears as she spoke of her husband, whom she stayed by during his five-month hospitalization before his death.
"He really was one of the most wonderful men I ever met in my entire life," she said. "He was such a good, good man. He was loving and kind to me and had such a pure heart."