‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Pat Sajak Mourns Death of Show’s Former Director Dick Carson

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

On Monday (January 10th), long-time Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak took to his Twitter account to mourn the passing of former director and Johnny Carson’s brother Dick Carson.

Speaking about the late Wheel of Fortune director’s passing, Sajak declared in the post, “So sad to hear of the passing of Dick Carson, who directed Wheel for 20 years before retiring in 2000.”

The Wheel of Fortune host also writes that as reserved midwesterners, it took him and Carson a while before they decided they and their wives might like to have dinner. “We had many. Lesly and I send our love to Karlyn and the family.”

Dick Carson directed more than 3,100 Wheel of Fortune episodes for more than 22 years. He eventually retired from the hit talk show in 1999. He also served as the director for The Merv Griffin Show. As well as his brother’s hit talk show The Tonight Show. Carson had 43 years of experience in directing television shows.  The younger brother of Johnny Carson reportedly passed away at the age of 92 while battling a short-term illness.

According to Variety, the late Wheel of Fortune director survived by his wife of 43 years, Karlyn Carson along with his sons Douglas and Christopher; daughter Kathleen Ann Tucker; granddaughters Lindsey Ann Ritenour, Melissa Ann Pregler, and Chase Alexandra Carson; his great-granddaughter Peyton Jane Ritenour; and his sister-in-law Alexis Carson. 

Dick Carson-directed The Merv Griffin Show was a recipient for various Daytime Emmy Awards throughout the years. Including Outstanding Talk, Service, or Variety Series; Best Writing for a Talk, Service, or Variety Program; Best Individual Director for a Talk, Service or Variety Program; Outstanding Individual Director for a Daytime Variety Program. 

‘Wheel of Fortune’ Director Dick Carson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award 

In 2010, Wheel of Fortune director Dick Carson received a lifetime achievement award at the Viaero Great American Comedy Festival. 

According to the Norfolk Daily News, the Wheel of Fortune alum spoke about his TV success through the years. “In college, I was a radio and speech major and spent most of my extracurricular time in theater productions as an actor. My exposure to entertainment through Johnny probably was the catalyst for my going into the field of entertainment.”

While at the Festival, Carson spoke about how the event named the theater after his brother, which had passed away five years prior. “TV stars don’t last forever. I think it’s wonderful that you’re keeping Johnny’s name alive. And I think he would be proud of the festival.”

Carson also recalled his life with his iconic brother and family. “[Johnny] took me on a wonderful trip to Europe the summer after I was widowed by my first wife’s death. When my present wife, Karlyn, and I got married in California, he and his wife, Alex, hosted a beautiful wedding celebration for us at their Malibu estate.”