Jack Paar, pioneer of The Tonight Show, died Tuesday at age 85 in his Greenwich, Conn., home after a long illness. Stephen Wells, Paar’s son-in-law, said the former talk show host suffered a stroke last year. By Paar’s side were wife Miriam of more than 60 years, and daughter Randy, according to Wells.
While with The Tonight Show, Paar hosted stars such as Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay), Judy Garland, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, Woody Allen and Bill Cosby.
John F. Kennedy appeared as a guest during the 1960 presidential campaign, and Paar later received a letter of appreciation from Joseph Kennedy thanking Paar for helping his son get elected.