Johnny Carson Net Worth at Death – Salary, Income, Earnings

Johnny Carson Net Worth 

Johnny Carson had an estimated net worth of $300 million at death. One of television’s best-known personalities, Johnny Carson hosted ‘The Tonight Show’ for 30 years. His farewell show in 1992 drew 50 million viewers. He earned most of his income from his career as a comedian and actor. 

After graduating from college, Johnny Carson worked as a television writer for Red Skelton’s show. He relocated to New York City, where he succeeded Jack Paar as host of The Tonight Show for a three-decade run that earned him an Emmy Award. Carson’s final appearance as host in 1992 was watched by an estimated 50 million people. He passed away in 2005.

To calculate the net worth of Johnny Carson, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Johnny Carson
Net Worth: $300 Million
Monthly Salary: $1 Million
Annual Income: $25 Million Per Year
Source of Wealth: Comedian, Actor, Screenwriter, Presenter

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Early Years

Johnny Carson, who was born on October 23, 1925, in Corning, Iowa, to Ruth and Homer R. Carson, a power company manager, learned how to captivate audiences at a young age. When he was 12 years old, he fell in love with magic and, after purchasing a magician’s kit through the mail, he began performing magic tricks in public as “The Great Carsoni.”

Following high school, Carson, then 18, joined the United States Navy as an ensign and later decoded encrypted messages as a communications officer. He continued to perform magic for his fellow shipmates while serving aboard the USS Pennsylvania. He later stated that one of his favorite memories from his service was performing magic for US Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal. Carson was assigned to combat in the summer of 1945, but he never saw action; WWII ended in 1945, with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and Carson was returned to the United States.

Carson enrolled at the University of Nebraska in the fall of 1945 and graduated four years later with a bachelor’s degree in radio and speech. After college, he worked briefly as a television writer for The Red Skelton Show in Los Angeles before moving to New York City in search of larger audiences.

Hosting ‘The Tonight Show’

Carson took over The Tonight Show from Jack Paar in October 1962, and after a year of fluctuating ratings, Carson became a prime-time hit.

Each evening, Carson’s calm and steady presence in the audience’s living rooms provided comfort. He guided viewers into the late-night hours with a familiarity they grew to rely on year after year, thanks to his affable personality, quick wit, and crisp interviews. Carson kept Americans up to date on popular culture by featuring interviews with the stars of the latest Hollywood movies or the hottest bands, and reflected some of the most distinguished personalities of his era through impersonations, including his classic take on President Ronald Reagan.

Carson created several recurring comedic characters who appeared on his show on a regular basis, including Carnac the Magnificent, an Eastern psychic who claimed to know the answers to all kinds of perplexing questions. Carson would appear in these skits wearing a colorful cape and a turban, attempting to answer questions on cards before even opening their sealed envelopes. Carson, in the role of Carnac, would demand silence before answering questions like “Answer: Flypaper.” “Can you tell me how you gift wrap a zipper?”

Carson hosted The Tonight Show for three decades. He received six Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom during that time. In 1992, Carson’s final appearance as host drew an estimated 50 million viewers.

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Personal Life

Carson was in and out of relationships his entire life, marrying four times. In 1948, he married Jody Wolcott, with whom he had three sons.

Carson and Jody divorced in 1963, and Carson married his second wife, Joanne Copeland, only a few months later. That relationship ended in 1972, after a grueling legal battle in which Copeland received a nearly $500,000 settlement and annual alimony from Carson. Carson married his third wife, Joanna Holland, the same year, and divorced her in 1983.

Carson lived as an unmarried man for the first time in 35 years from 1983 to 1987. Carson married for the final time in June 1987, and remained with Alexis Maas until Carson’s death nearly eighteen years later.

Death and Legacy

Carson died of a heart attack while sleeping in his Malibu, California home in 1999, at the age of 74. He had quadruple bypass surgery soon after. Carson died of respiratory failure caused by emphysema in January 2005, at the age of 79.

Carson, widely regarded as one of the most popular stars on American television, has been credited with launching the careers of several mainstream comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, and Jimmy Fallon. He is now regarded as a television legend around the world.

Further Reading

Related Lists of Celebrities’ Net Worth

Or, browse all celebrities’ net worth.

Johnny Carson Quotes

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself.

Johnny Carson


Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.

Johnny Carson


Married men live longer than single men. But married men are a lot more willing to die.

Johnny Carson


Talent alone won’t make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: ‘Are your ready?’

Johnny Carson


Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.

Johnny Carson


For three days after death, hair and fingernails continue to grow but phone calls taper off.

Johnny Carson


We’re more effective than birth control pills.

Johnny Carson

View our larger collection of the best Johnny Carson quotes.

Related Lists of Celebrities’ Net Worth

Or, browse all celebrities’ net worth.

Who Are The 30 Richest People In The World?

The list of the world’s richest people can change from year to year, depending on their current net worth and financial performance. Here is the current list of the 30 richest people in the world, based on the latest Forbes list, and some interesting facts about each of them.

Learn More: Top 30 Richest People In The World

Leave a Comment

COVID-19 Took My Waiter Job, Then I Made 5-Figures From Home...Discover How I Did It!