John David Carson

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John David Carson
Born John Franklin Carson[1]
(1952-03-06)March 6, 1952
North Hollywood, Los Angeles, U.S.
Died October 27, 2009(2009-10-27) (aged 57)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1966-1990

John David Carson (born John Franklin Carson; March 6, 1952 – October 27, 2009) was an American actor. He was born in North Hollywood, California.


Carson began his career at a young age, acting in television advertisements, and later doing cartoon voice-acting for Hanna-Barbera. He attended Los Angeles Valley College where he played a lead role in their 1969 production of The Taming Of The Shrew. Upon beginning his Hollywood career he was immediately engaged in a dispute with Johnny Carson over the use of their shared name - he subsequently went by the name John David Carson.

Carson's first feature film was Pretty Maids All in a Row in 1971. Carson portrayed "Ponce de Leon Harper", a nerdy and sexually inexperienced young man who is tormented with lust at the pretty young women around him at school and suffers from chronic priapism. Ponce is eventually "mentored" by his guidance counselor, played by Rock Hudson, an expert at seducing younger women, who takes him under his wing and persuades an attractive female teacher (played by Angie Dickinson) to sleep with him.[2][3] Another notable role was in the 1976 film Stay Hungry, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jeff Bridges and Sally Field. Carson also appeared in a great deal of television productions, including Hawaii Five-O and Charlie's Angels. He portrayed "Jay Spence" on Falcon Crest, a prime-time soap opera.[4]

He played "Larry Burns", a television repairman who is briefly framed for a woman's murder by a corrupt sheriff, on Murder She Wrote and an Irish jockey named "Kevin Ryan" on Charlie's Angels. He appeared in various B-movies such as Empire of the Ants (1977), an adaptation of an H. G. Wells story about gigantic, man-eating ants, Creature from Black Lake (1976), Charge of the Model T's (1977) and The Fifth Floor (1978), and acted alongside George C. Scott in The Day of the Dolphin (1973). He again appeared opposite Scott, playing his character's son, in The Savage is Loose (1974). Carson continued acting in small parts up until 1990, appearing in the Julia Roberts hit Pretty Woman, which marked his very last appearance on film. He voluntarily retired from acting after this role.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

John Franklin Carson was of Irish and Cherokee ancestry, the son of Western actor Eldridge "Kit" Carson (1909–1978) and his wife, Rosamonde (née James) Carson, a fashion model.

Carson entered Hollywood from a theater background; at the time of his arrival on the motion-picture scene, he had already undergone several traumatic incidents. His parents had split up; furthermore, he had been involved in a serious motorcycle accident which left him almost completely deaf in one ear, according to an interview in Interview Magazine.[5]


Carson was raised as a Christian Scientist. He was first married to Vicki Morgan on January 10, 1976; that union ended in divorce in 1977. He and his second wife, Diana, were married on February 5, 2007. They remained married until his death from lymphoma on October 27, 2009, aged 57. Carson had two step-daughters, Amber and Alana, from his wife's previous marriage.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Free Birth & Vital Records". Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ "AllMovie - Movies and Films Database - Movie Search, Ratings, Photos, Recommendations, and Reviews". Archived from the original on 2006-04-26. 
  3. ^ "Pretty Maids All in a Row". Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  4. ^ Staff. "John David Carson profile". Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  5. ^ "On the Loose with "John David Carson"". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 

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