Joanne Copeland: What Happened To Johnny Carson’s Ex-wife?

Joanne Copeland

Joanne Copeland was the ex-wife of television host, comedian, writer, and producer Johnny Carson. Joanne’s ex-husband Johnny served as the host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992). The show ruled late-night TV for decades. Johnny was considered the king of late-night television. He retired from show business in the 1990s and stepped down as host of The Tonight Show.

Joanne Copeland: Bio Summary

NameJoanne Copeland
Famous asex-wife of Johnny Carson
Date of birth 20 October 1931
Place of birth Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died 8 May 2015 (aged 83)
Nationality American
Spouse Johnny Carson, Richard Rever
Children None
Parents George Israel Copeland and Elner Marie Koberg Copeland

Who Was Johnny Carson’s Ex-wife, Joanne Copeland?

Joanne Copeland was born on 20 October 1931, in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA. She was the daughter of George Israel Copeland and Elner Marie Koberg Copeland. She was an actress, model, and television host who became the wife of Johnny Carson born John William Carson. She worked as a stewardess for Pan American World Airways and worked briefly at Howard Hughes’ RKO studio.

As an actress, Joanne Copeland appeared as a Female Nurse in the film StalkHer. She appeared as herself on television series such as ‘Video Village’, ‘Snap Judgment’, ‘Guess My Sign’, ‘What’s My Line?’, ‘The Kraft Music Hall’, ‘The Match Game’, ‘It’s Your Bet’, ‘Donahue’, ‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (uncredited)’, ‘The Mike Douglas Show’, ‘Joanne Carson’s VIPs’, and ‘E! Mysteries & Scandals’.

Joanne also appeared as herself in the TV Movie ‘Johnny Goes Home’. She appeared in the TV series ’60 Minutes’, ‘Biography’ and ‘Late Show with David Letterman’. She worked as a model after she moved to New York. She also worked as a television talk show host, earned a doctorate, and worked as a metabolic therapist. She had a close relationship with Truman Capote, who died in her home on August 25, 1984. A portion of his ashes were reportedly given to her.

ALSO, READ: Joanna Holland: Inside The Life Of Johnny Carson’s Ex-wife

Joanne Copeland also contributed to helping animals, particularly dogs with epilepsy, according to sources. She was a founding member of Actors and Others for Animals and a celebrity spokesperson for Save the Dalmatians.

Joanne Copeland Was Married Twice

Joanne Copeland was married two times to two different men. She got married for the first time to Johnny Carson. According to her IMDb page, her father was the one who introduced her to Johnny Carson. She and Johnny met in 1960, at the time Johnny was the host of a TV game show. Johnny asked her out on a date to watch some film clips of his comedy. “Johnny kind of said to me on our first date, ‘You love comedy so much, would you like to come up and see a show that I did?’,” Joanne said.

Joanne Copeland added: “And I said, ‘Is this a new way of saying come up and see my etchings?’” She revealed that Johnny was so “embarrassed” and she was also “embarrassed”. She then said “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Sure, I’d love to come and see them.” She and Johnny got married on August 17, 1963. She became Johnny’s second wife. They got married in the same year Johnny got divorced from his first wife Jody Morrill Wolcott. Johnny and Jody’s marriage lasted from October 1, 1949, to May 25, 1963.

Joanne became the stepmother of Johnny’s three sons (Christopher Carson, Richard Carson, and Cory Carson) from his marriage to Jody. Joanne and Johnny didn’t have any children together. Their marriage ended on June 21, 1972. Joanne reportedly received a settlement of $6,000 per month in alimony until Johnny passed away in 2005. Joanne Copeland also received “a pretty nice little art collection.”

After the divorce, both Joanne and Johnny Carson moved on. Joanne married her second husband Richard Rever. She and Richard did not have any children together. Their marriage also ended in a divorce. Joanne’s ex-husband Johnny Carson married Joanna Holland on September 30, 1972, until they divorced in 1985. He also married Alexandra (Alexis) Maas on June 20, 1987. He and Alexis were married until his death.

What Happened To Johnny Carson’s Ex-wife?

Joanne Copeland died on 8 May 2015, at age 83, in Bel Air, Los Angeles County, California, USA. She died in hospice care of a lung ailment. She was buried at Westwood Memorial Park, in Westwood, Los Angeles County, California, USA. Her former husband Johnny Carson died on January 23, 2005, at age 79. He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of respiratory failure arising from emphysema.

ALSO, READ: Alexis Maas: Where Is Johnny Carson’s Wife Now?

Johnny Carson was cremated and his ashes were given to his wife, Alexis Maas. Before his death, on March 19, 1999, he had a severe heart attack at his home in Malibu, California, and was hospitalized. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery. He was a heavy smoker for decades. Even his younger brother recalled that during their last conversation, Johnny kept saying, “Those damn cigarettes, those damn cigarettes”.

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Ruth Kai Botchway

Ruth Kai Botchway is a Senior Editor at She is a graduate of All Stars Media College (2021) with a Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies. With more than two years experience in Journalism, she has served as an intern at Accra FM and worked with Green TV and Ashiaman TV. She worked as a Maritime Journalist/ influencer, producing Port and Maritime agenda initially aired on Ashiaman TV. You can reach her via email:

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