So Long, Mr. McMahon!
A Local Boy Passes Away
It makes me sad that Ed McMahon died yesterday. Though I had seen clips of him cracking Johnny Carson up on The Tonight Show and saw an episode or two of the shows Star Search and TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, I wasn’t what you’d call a fan. No, I mourn his passing because of a more personal reason.
Like me, Edward Leo Peter McMahon, Jr. was raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Before I even became familiar with his work, I knew about him. My grandmother or aunts would point at a clip of The Tonight Show and would say, “You know he was raised in Lowell, right?” Though I can’t remember where exactly it is located, on more than one occasion a family member has pointed out a certain bench as “Ed McMahon’s bench.” As I got older when I’d complain that Lowell was only known for the Boott Mills and for being located along the Merrimack River, my mom would point out that at one point such people as Jack Kerouac, Bette Davis, James McNeil Whistler, Michael Chiklis, Olympia Dukakis and Ed McMahon had once called it home. On the first day of high school, we were given a tour of the school and, once again, Ed McMahon’s name came up. Whether I wanted to hear about him or not, given the association, I had no choice.
Any visit Ed McMahon made to the area was front page news. The Lowell Sun would hear that he was in the city and would get a picture of him doing something (shopping, eating, etc.). Being the nice person he was, McMahon would simply smile, wave and go about his business. Not too long ago when it was announced that Ed McMahon’s fortune was gone and that he was unable to work because of neck problems, the Sun wrote about it extensively. Reporters interviewed the remaining members of his family who resided in the area. They hoped that these relatives had opinions and theories on where his money may have wandered off to. They didn’t let the press down. Each story spoke about his childhood and his rise to fame. The reporters attempted to figure out what went wrong by retracing McMahon’s steps from his current financial woes to his arrival in Lowell. As I never read past the first few lines, I don’t know what the Sun came up with.
Since news of his death probably didn’t reach The Lowell Sun until after the daily edition was published, yesterday’s paper didn’t mention this local tragedy. Considering the coverage Ed McMahon got in life from the local paper though, I imagine his obituary will truly be something. I hope wherever he is now he can get a kick out of his hometown’s final tribute to him. Rest in peace, Mr. McMahon.
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