"Most Difficult Moment Of My Life": Johnny Carson Barely Survived His Son's Sudden Death In 1991

September 10, 2019

On June 21, 1991, the famous comedian and The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson suffered a devastating loss – his second son Rick died in a car accident.

Rick was 39 years old at the time of his untimely passing.

Carson struggled to cope with the loss of his son

Johnny Carson was an incredibly private person, so it was tough for him to share such a tremendous pain with an entire world.

Getty Images / Ideal Image

The famous comedian delivered a touching eulogy during his son's funeral, admitting how much he was struggling with Rick's death:

When Rick was around, you wanted to smile. He had a laugh that was contagious as could be. He tried so darn hard to please . . .Probably the most difficult moment of my life. It makes you very conscious of what's important when you lose a child.

Carson's close friend and colleague Ed McMahon reported at the time how much it took from Johnny to make that speech and live with grief:

I think it took a lot of courage for Johnny to do that. He’s such a private man, and his loss was so great.

Getty Images / Ideal Image

Another tragedy struck Johnny very quickly

Just 9 days after Rick's death, the famous host faced another tragedy, his long-time friend Michael Landon passed away from cancer at 54.

Carson then buried himself in work, especially for his last season on The Tonight Show, which finished for him in 1992.