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Ed McMahon Biography

Birth Name:
Edward Leo Peter McMahon Jr.
Birth Place:
Detroit, Michigan, United States
TV host

Fast Facts

  • 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


  • Katherine Mary McMahon -- Daughter
  • Linda McMahon -- Daughter
  • Alyce Ferrill McMahon -- Ex-wife
  • Victoria Valentine McMahon -- Ex-wife
  • Edward McMahon -- Father
  • Eleanor McMahon -- Mother
  • Jeffrey McMahon -- Son
  • Michael Edward McMahon -- Son
  • Pamela Hurn -- Wife