Dick Carson, the five-time Emmy-winning director who directed installments of The Merv Griffin Show, Wheel of Fortune and, for his older brother, Johnny Carson, Tonight’s show, has died. He was 92 years old.
Carson died Dec. 19 at his Studio City home after a brief illness, his family announced.
Dick Carson moved from Los Angeles to New York to direct Tonight’s show shortly after Johnny informed him that he had been hired to succeed Jack Paar on NBC’s late night show in 1962.
With Johnny unable to take over the show for months because he had a contract with ABC, Dick directed episodes with guest hosts including Groucho Marx, Art Linkletter, Joey Bishop, Bob Cummings, Jan Murray, Mort Sahl, Jerry Lewis, Florence Henderson and Griffin until that Johnny came on board in October.
After almost seven years, Dick Carson left Tonight’s show and returned to Los Angeles, where he directed an ABC variety show hosted by Don Rickles that ran for only 17 episodes in 1968-69. He also did Be smart Y The Sammy Davis Jr. Show and directed commercials and pilots.
He called the shots to The Merv Griffin Show From 1972 to 1986, he won the Daytime Emmys for his work on the 1974, 1983, and 1985 talk shows. During that time, he also began a 22-year career on the Griffin-created game show. Wheel of Fortune; He won two more Emmys for that before retiring in 1999.
Richard Charles Carson, the youngest of three siblings (Johnny Carson was four years older), was born on June 4, 1929, in Clarinda, Iowa. He and his family moved to Norfolk, Nebraska, where his father, Homer, worked at the public service sector.
His brother “was my hero, you know,” Dick said in a 2015 interview for the DGA. “He got into magic very early, very early. And I got into it and started doing magic shows for different places. I would go and carry the luggage or bring the accessories and things like that. “
At the University of Nebraska, Dick acted in school plays and community theater in Lincoln before graduating from college in 1952, then served three years in the US Navy and 11 more in the US Naval Reserve. USA
He directed local sports and news programs and commercials on the San Diego KOGO-TV station, then joined KABC in Los Angeles as a stage manager and associate director in 1960, then directed children’s programs. Chucko the birthday clown Y Soupy’s sales show before passing through Tonight’s show.
Griffin’s first talk show was hosted on CBS as a competition for Tonight’s show, he pointed out in his interview with the DGA.
“I think Merv loved having Johnny Carson’s brother there,” he said. “But first I called Johnny and said, ‘John, you won’t believe [this], I just got a call from the people at Griffin to run their show, in front of you. And how does that affect you or how, what do you think? He said, ‘Hey, it’s work,’ because he had been out of work many times in the early days. ‘It’s work.'”
Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Karlyn; the children Douglas, Christopher and Kathleen; grandchildren Lindsey, Melissa and Chase; and great-granddaughter Peyton. His first wife of 34 years, Patricia, died in 1986.
Donations in his memory can be made to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center’s Minutes Matter Emergency Services Campaign.