TV's Jack Paar Dies at 85

Listen: <b>Web Extra</b>: NPR's Scott Simon Interviews Paar in 1997

Jack Paar

hide captionJack Paar

Bettmann/Corbis

Jack Paar, who pioneered late-night talk TV on The Tonight Show, dies at 85. Paar hosted the show from 1957 to 1965, turning Steve Allen's comedy variety show into a more conversational format.

Paar quit at the peak of his career, having paved the way for Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, David Letterman and other late-night hosts.

From Paar's Final 'Tonight Show' in 1962

audio icon Show Opening

audio icon Standing Ovation

audio icon Paar's Farewell

Death came Tuesday in Greenwich, Conn., after a long illness.

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