Hollywood stars Billy Crystal, Oprah Winfrey and Woody Allen have led a host of tributes to late TV legend Johnny Carson, who died on Sunday (23JAN05).

The former TONIGHT SHOW host passed away at the age of 79 after a long battle with the respiratory disease emphysema.

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY star Crystal says, "He was the greatest talk show host of our time with the quickest mind. To me, he always knew exactly who he was and was always in control. He was a true giant."

Chat show queen Winfrey labelled Carson "one of the greats of our time", while Allen enthused, "I liked him very much, as a comedian and as a person. I have only the most positive things to say about him. I found him to be a terrific guy."

Comedienne Joan Rivers laments, "He gave me my career. You never forget when you've been working as a waitress and an office temporary and you've been working strip joints at night, and then Carson says to you, 'You're going to be a star' on the air, and it happens."

Steve Martin adds, "He loved to laugh. His occasional touch of boyish naughtiness made America a sweet and kind place to be, and he without doubt enriched our nation."

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger paid tribute to Carson as "an irreplaceable member of the entertainment community", adding, "Johnny Carson shared his spirit and laughter with his family, friends and countless fans. Johnny was a great friend and always showed me profound respect."

24/01/2005 13:56