- Was an instructor and test pilot during World War II, and flew 85 combat missions in Korea.
- Worked state fairs and carnivals as a barker, and sold vegetable shredders on the Atlantic City boardwalk.
- Made his network TV debut in 1950 as a clown on CBS's The Big Top.
- Appeared on Broadway in The Impossible Years in the '60s.
- While the host of Star Search (1983-95), the contestants included Drew Carey, Ray Romano, Dennis Miller, Britney Spears and Rosie O'Donnell.
- Wrote a memoir to honor Johnny Carson called Here's Johnny!: My Memories of Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, and 46 Years of Friendship in 2005.
- In 2006, landed in first place on a list of the greatest sidekicks named by Entertainment Weekly.
- Started appearing on the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon in 1967; made his 41st and final appearance in 2008.
- Was featured in a Cash4Gold Super Bowl ad alongside MC Hammer in 2009; the ad was filmed at his home.
- Penned a number of books on multiple subjects including bartending and weight loss.
- Jeffrey McMahon — Son
- Michael Edward McMahon — Son
- Pamela Hurn — Wife
- Katherine Mary McMahon — Daughter
- Linda McMahon — Daughter
- Claudia McMahon — Daughter
- Victoria Valentine McMahon — Ex-wife
- Eleanor McMahon — Mother
- Alyce Ferrill McMahon — Ex-wife
- Edward McMahon — Father
- Catholic University, Washington, DC (BA in Speech and Drama, 1949); attended Boston College, Boston, MA
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