He's responsible for launching careers. Bless you eternally for giving us David Letterman, Johnny.
He's the man who moved television from New York to L.A. and from live broadcasts to tape. It's estimated that he was responsible for 17% of NBC revenue at one point. That's star power.
He skewered all the politicians with grace: Nixon, Hart, Jerry Brown, Bush the First, Quayle. If you were in Carson's monologues for too long, your days were numbered.
Johnny's effortless wit, trademark mannerisms and brilliant one-liners made him America's friend. Everyone in America probably watched The Tonight Show at some point. I begged my parents to let me stay up and watch at least the monologue.
He's been gone from our televisions for 12 years. He'll never be gone from television and comedy history.
And the greatest tragedy of Johnny Carson's death from emphysema is that it makes you realize just how crummy a host Jay Leno is on the tonight show. Don't smoke kids.