Famous Friends Remember Johnny Carson

"I've been to parties with Johnny where he simply sat in the corner and talked to only Ed McMahon. He was very, very, very shy."

Hugh Downs, newsman and former substitute host of "The Tonight Show" -- interview with ABC News Radio:

"Steve Allen had it ["Tonight Show" hosting duties] for a while, two or three years I think -- and then Jack Parr for five years. But when Johnny came on, he adopted that format pretty much. But he built on it, and in those 30 years he made it into the pattern that you can't really improve on. And that's why all the late-night hosts do sort of the same thing."

"Believe it or not, Johnny was not an extrovert. He could do the job of an extrovert, but he had a private life and a different agenda. And that's part of the reason, I think, he was successful, part of the reason that he was willing not to have the spotlight on him but on his guests. And that made a big difference."

Bob Wright, chairman and chief executive officer of NBC Universal -- written statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Johnny Carson today. Johnny was a part of our NBC family for more than 30 years, long after his retirement in 1992, and he was a dear friend to both me and my wife, Suzanne. As host of 'The Tonight Show,' his gift was the ability to make millions of Americans feel they too had a close friendship with Johnny. His professional and usually anonymous personal generosity launched the careers of countless stars and helped thousands of people. With his lightning quick wit, effortless delivery, and immense charm, he was without peer in late-night television. His death marks the passing of a show-business legend and a man of warmth and sincerity. We offer our heartfelt condolences to Johnny's family."

Ken Auletta, media writer for The New Yorker -- ABC News Radio:

"They [other late-night TV hosts] all took from Carson many things. One, he was effortlessly funny. He didn't sound practiced or rehearsed. He seemed to genuinely like people and yet he always kept a certain distance."

"I think they were all his children. Everyone in late night is a child of Johnny Carson."

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