Johnny Carson Donated $150 Million to Charity

By Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
August 10, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

The late Johnny Carson with his wife Alex as they watch a tennis match during the Canadian Open August 17, 1995. (Carlo Allegri/Getty Images )
The late Johnny Carson with his wife Alex as they watch a tennis match during the Canadian Open August 17, 1995. (Carlo Allegri/Getty Images )
Johnny Carson, former longtime host of the “Tonight Show,” donated more than $150 million to charity right before his death five years ago.

Carson placed $156.5 into his John W. Carson fund, which he established years before he passed away, The Smoking Gun reported on Monday.

Carson did not make any public statements about the massive donation, according to The Smoking Gun. The donation was found in the John W. Carson fund's 2008 tax return, which was only filed earlier this year in May.

This donation makes Carson the largest philanthropist in all of show business. David Geffen is second with his $80 million charity.

Carson's philanthropic fund grants money to a range of organizations, including environmental groups, hospitals, children's groups, and some charities in Nebraska–his home state.

Carson, died of complications from emphysema on Jan. 25, 2005 at the age of 79, was a lifelong smoker.

Carson hosted the “Tonight Show” from Oct. 1962 to May 1992, when Jay Leno took over.