TV's Jack Paar Dies at 85 Jack Paar, who pioneered late-night talk TV on The Tonight Show before telling his viewers farewell while he was still in his prime, died Tuesday. He was 85.
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TV's Jack Paar Dies at 85

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TV's Jack Paar Dies at 85

TV's Jack Paar Dies at 85

TV's Jack Paar Dies at 85

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1620021/1620022" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Web Extra: NPR's Scott Simon Interviews Paar in 1997

Only Available in Archive Formats.

Jack Paar Bettmann/Corbis hide caption

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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.

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

From Paar's Final 'Tonight Show' in 1962

audio icon Show Opening

audio icon Standing Ovation

audio icon Paar's Farewell