Joanne Carson, former wife of late Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, has passed away at Los Angeles home. She was 84.
A former model who had also worked as a stewardess for Pan American World Airways, Joanne Copeland first began dating Johnny in 1960, when he was hosting the game show Who Do You Trust? in New York City.
“Johnny kind of said to me on our first date, ‘You love comedy so much, would you like to come up and see a show that I did?'” she told Larry King during a 2007 interview on his CNN show in 2007. “And I said, ‘Is this a new way of saying come up and see my etchings?’ ”
The couple was married in 1963, one year after Johnny took over Tonight from Jack Paar; they divorced in 1972.
In a recent memoir, Johnny’s former attorney Hentry Bushkin (known to Tonight Show viewers as “the bombastic Bushkin) alleged that Joanne cheated on Johnny with football player Frank Gifford, a charge that Joanne denied.
Joanne later remarried, but that union also ended in divorce. She had no children.