'Wheel of Fortune' Legend Dick Carson Dead at 92

Dick Carson, the younger brother of Johnny Carson and a prolific television director, died last month. His death was announced on Sunday. He was 92. Carson directed thousands of Wheel of Fortune episodes over two decades.

Carson died on Dec. 19, 2021, after a brief illness. His death was announced by his family through publicist Charlie Barrett, reports Variety. Carson is survived by his wife of 43 years, Karlyn Carson; his sons Douglas and Christopher; his daughter Kathleen Ann Tucker; three granddaughters; his great-granddaughter; and his sister-in-law, Alexis Carson.

(Photo: Bob Ganley/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

Carson was born on June 4, 1929, in Clarinda, Iowa as the youngest of three children. He started his broadcasting career in Nebraska radio before he moved to the NBC affiliate in San Diego. He slowly climbed the ranks of local television and moved to Los Angeles in 1960 to direct children's shows.

Just months before Johnny took over The Tonight Show, he recommended his younger brother join the show in New York. He directed musical talent segments and also starred in sketches. After seven years on The Tonight Show, Carson moved back to California, where he directed Don Rickles' variety show, as well as episodes of Get Smart and The Sammy Davis Show.

In 1972, Carson began directing The Merv Griffin Show. He was closely associated with Wheel of Fortune, directing episodes for 22 years. Carson won Emmys for directing The Merv Griffin Show in 1974, 1983, and 1985, and won Emmys for Wheel of Fortune in 1986 and 1997. He retired in 1999.


In 2015, Carson told the Director's Guild of America that his older brother didn't have any trouble with him directing his rival, Griffin. "I think Merv loved to have Johnny Carson's brother there," Carson said. "But first I called Johnny and I said, 'John, you won't believe [this], I just got a call from the Griffin people to direct his show, opposite you. And how does that affect you or how, what do you think?' He said, 'Hey, it's work,' because he had been out of work many times in the early days. 'It's work.'"

Johnny hosted The Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992 and won six Emmys. He died in 2005 at age 79.