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2005 In Memoriam

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As the year draws to a close, we look back on notable celebrities who passed away during 2005. JOHNNY CARSONOct. 23, 1925 - Jan. 23, 2005 He didn't invent the late-night talk show, but as the third host of NBC's venerable "The Tonight Show" (following Steve Allen and Jack Parr), Johnny Carson became one of TV's most beloved, reassuring figures, the man who tucked America in at night with an affable parade of celebrity guests, skits and off-the-cuff banter teed off by his signature monologues. Carson earned the cachet of a true Hollywood insider, but he reflected his Midwestern roots with an outsider's detachment and an endearing modesty. When he signed off in 1993, he was at the top of his form but resisted any valedictory comebacks, retreating into relative seclusion at his Malibu home. His death in January, from emphysema, was followed late in the year by the passing of two other familiar "Tonight Show" fixtures, original musical director and conductor Skitch Henderson (Jan. 27, 1918 - Nov. 1, 2005) and comedian and "man in the street" Louis Nye (May 1, 1913 - Oct. 9, 2005), one of the funniest regulars on Steve Allen's watch as host.
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