Undated photo of Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show

Comedian Johnny Carson, the king of U.S. late-night television as host of NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ for nearly 30 years — and the last face millions of Americans saw before drifting off to sleep — died on January 23, 2005 at age 79. Carson’s topical opening monologues and on-air banter with sidekick Ed McMahon and bandleader Doc Severinsen made his show a cultural touchstone, and his death saddened many in Hollywood who got their first big break on the program. Carson is shown on the “Tonight Show” in an undated photo. REUTERS/NBC NO SALES

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