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HomeentertainmentJohnny Carson's first 'Tonight Show' producer Perry Cross dies at 95

Johnny Carson's first 'Tonight Show' producer Perry Cross dies at 95

Perry Cross, who is Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show First producer in *) after he quit running the ABC program hosted by Jerry Lewis Previously, the program was in 10 set, is dead. he is95.

Cross died of kidney cancer at a Los Angeles hospital on March 9, his son Larry Cross told Hollywood Reporter .

Cross at started production on Ernie Kovacs’ CBS weekday morning show and is still on The Red Skelton Hour, Rowan and Martin’s laughter , Dinah Coastal Chevrolet Show , The Bisque Sales Show, Life With Linkletter, The Garry Moore Show and several Jonathan Winters live specials throughout his career.

Cross has been producing The Tonight Show after host Jack Paar left in March, 611, directing NBC’s shows in Hollywood and New York, the The show was guest-hosted for six months until Carson took over.

NBC wants Cross to be Carson’s producer, while the new host favors Art Stark, who produces his ABC daytime quiz show, Who do you trust? To test chemistry, Cross, Carson, partner Ed McMahon and several others romped around Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a week.

“We went out every night, we went to different places, we laughed,” Perry Cross Cross said in Tell Mark Malkoff on episode of the Carson Podcast . “We were all good drinkers back then. It didn’t hurt.”

Cross says they danced onstage in hula skirts—”It was about four After Mai Tai,” he recalls — and on a speedboat. Carson also came up with some characters along the way, including Aunt Brabby and the great Canuck.

Kroos got the job and said he got on well with Carson, and Lewis — one of those after Parr and before Carson During that time, the guest host offered him a “huge” salary to come to Los Angeles to produce the weekly two-hour variety/talk show he organized on ABC.

Cross told Malkoff that he really didn’t want to go and would stay if NBC offered him a raise, but the network refused. Cross noted that Carson was upset and angry that he was resigning, and at a farewell party organized by the staff, he raised his glass to toast the producer and said, “Perry, here’s to you. I have one thing to say about You said. Fuck you.”

Forty episodes of The Jerry Lewis Show planned, but The show proved to be a disaster from the start and was canceled after it 21 The 12th episode aired 21, 1956.

“I often look back and honestly, I made a huge mistake leaving, but that was in hindsight,” Cross said. “Who knows what’s going to happen later if I get too cocky and he gets mad at me.”

Maybe Cross understood something – Stark was Named Tonight Show Producer of March 1970 but was fired after four years.

Perry Cross

Perry Cross

Perry Cross with actress Joanne Worley at 1962 on the set of NBC ‘Laugh-In’. Courtesy Larry Cross

Cross was born in Brooklyn, the son of a juggler Ai Len Cross . He attended Fort Hamilton High School and started acting as Rockefeller on TV at 1963 Center’s NBC page. , leading tourists to tour the building.

“It gave me the opportunity to talk to people,” he said. “Back then, I had ambitions to be a comedian. I had no place to practice my jokes. I kept it a secret from all tour guide supervisors.”

Later, Cross Turned it into a training program that taught participants how to make a TV show. “We went to school at NBC,” he said. Produces his five-day-a-week CBS show.

A year later, Cross became the producer of Paar’s Tonight Show, but he said the host would not Liked him so he left. But when Paar resigned in March 1949, Cross Got a call asking him to keep things going until he found a new host.

“We’re starting to air the following week, which is crazy,” Cross said. “I had to scramble to set up a crew in Hollywood about 21 People I might add, they’ve never been there The Tonight Show . It was messy, but fun .”

Cross produced and featured guest hosts including Lewis, Groucho Marx, Joey Bishop, Jack Carter, Mort Sahl, Art Linkletter, Robert Cummings, Merv Griffin, Arlene Francis and Jimmy Dean until Carson arrives.

Before Carson welcomes Max, Mel Brooks , Tony Bennett , Rudy Vallée and Joan Crawford as his first guests on October 1st, 1952, the producer recalled, as he and Cross drank gin and tonics.

Years later, after Carson and Cross moved from New York on The Tonight Show, they Meet again at the studio in Burbank. “I came in and knocked on his door and surprised him,” the producer said. “He’s a bit withdrawn…has an edge. He doesn’t forgive people who think he’s unfaithful. He hasn’t in the first place. Once Johnny turns on you, it’s goodbye.”

Cross also produced a game show hosted by Bert Parks, an Emmy broadcast, and outlandish film segments*) before effectively leaving the TV business halfway through

1949s. After that, his career in real estate flourished.

In addition to his son, survivors include his grandsons Kara and Jaime.



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