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TV's McMahon, Barry Said to be Ailing

Adam Bernstein

Professional sidekick Ed McMahon is seriously ill, which is sad news for those who recall the dependable TV personality in his heyday. He was mostly known for his longtime professional relationship with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show."

In one interview he gave Entertainment Weekly, McMahon recalled the pleasure of working with a comedian of Carson's fearless wit. As the magazine reported, Frank Sinatra once walked into the New York bar Jilly's in a foul mood after midnight and no one dared approach the notoriously rough-edged singer.

"No one except Carson, who barked, 'Goddamn it, Frank! I said 11:30!' "

Obit gossip sites also report the fragile condition of actor Gene Barry, a longtime presence on TV, film and Broadway. Usually cast in dapper TV roles -- "Bat Masterson," "Burke's Law" -- he finally broke through what he called his stereotyped persona when he played to much acclaim Georges in the 1983 B'way staging of "La Cage aux Folles." A longtime Democrat, he also played Richard Nixon in a musical about Watergate.

[As a follow up to some of the comments posted: The "Post" in Post Mortem refers to The Washington Post -- it's not meant to imply premature burial.

Post Mortem is a discussion about what's news for those who care about obituaries. McMahon's publicists are alerting a lot of reporters about his condition, so it's hardly in bad taste.]

By Adam Bernstein  |  March 3, 2009; 12:48 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Bernstein  
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A Watergate musical??

Did it end with a big G. Gordon Liddy - Martha Mitchell dance number? And was the intermission eighteen minutes long?

Posted by: Blurgle | March 3, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

A bit of unfortunate association to discuss the illness of old men under the title "Post Mortem"-- sure, we all get there eventually, but let's not jump the gun...

Posted by: alarico | March 3, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree, this seems in bad taste for this particular blog...wait until they're dead.

Posted by: subwayguy | March 3, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"Post mortem" was the phrase the editors used on the main Web page to jump to this blog. I agree, exceedingly bad taste, since post mortem would be a phrase used after someone is dead (or a program takes place). I doubt anyone at the Post noticed it (which is sad).

Posted by: Sutter | March 3, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Poor Ed.

He gets a Post Mortem even before he gets an obit.

That's what comes from being second banana.

He entertained a lot of people. He worked hard at a thankless job. God bless him.

Posted by: Petronius_Jones | March 3, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, however you explain the "Post Mortem" heading, it's still in bad taste and wrong.

Posted by: JimZ1 | March 3, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, the term "post mortem" is in bad taste. However, I am guessing that the author has NO knowledge about good taste or bad taste, and furthermore, would opt for "bad taste", if he/she should know the difference, because it is simply more savvy and cuter and gives those in on the "know" the feeling that "good taste" is so, oh you know, OLD....just like the subject himself.

Posted by: cms1 | March 3, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I thought "Post Mortem" waited to write about people until after they actually died.

Posted by: subwayguy | March 4, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

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