John David Carson has died

John David Carson has died at the age of 57. Actually, he died on October 27, but I didn’t hear about it until today. He was the star of Pretty Maids All in a Row and The Savage is Loose (playing George C. Scott’s son), and later had a prolific career as a character actor and appeared in many films and TV shows including Charlie’s Angels, The Fall Guy, Falcon Crest, Taxi and Hawaii Five-O.

Carson’s last role was in 1990, in Pretty Woman. He played a background character in the office where Richard Gere worked and only had a few lines. Apparently he had a stretch of rough time during the 90s, and lost a lot of his money gambling. I was told by his ex-girlfriend that he had a pretty serious drinking problem and was homeless for some time; I’m not sure how long this lasted because she said she hadn’t spoken to him in 10 years.

I was informed of his death by his wife, Diane, who replied to a few videos of Carson I posted on Youtube with the sad news. I had tried to contact him last year, wanting to write an article about him, but couldn’t get through to him. His phone number that was listed led me to his ex-girlfriend, which means that it must have been at least 10 years out of date.

Carson’s story is sad. He really started out his Hollywood career as a very naive and confused young man, and was apparently pushed around and intimidated by a number of directors and producers who wanted to sleep with him. By his own admission he was also “on acid a lot of the time” and it didn’t help him manage his career wisely. Because of his overtly sexual debut role in Pretty Maids, and his association with Rock Hudson, it seems that he came in the crosshairs of a lot of sleazy people. Apparently George C. Scott had tried to take him under his wing and help his career along, but he never became the leading man that he had hoped to be. This interview of him (which is actually transcribed from a print interview in a magazine - the guy who is speaking the lines is NOT actually John David Carson) is pretty heartbreaking to listen to if you consider the ultimate trajectory of his career - he shows such excitement and enthusiasm at being a young actor just starting out in Hollywood, and has such a youthful ambition.

I know he’s a pretty damn obscure actor and I would be surprised if more than a few people here know who he is - but I was really saddened to hear of this news.

Have you been able to corroborate this? And I ask this not to be snarky–I would submit his DOD to IMDB, but I’d feel better about doing it if there were confirmation other than a posting in a youtube thread.

I am related to John David Carson and for some reason this is the way I learned of his passing. Do you have any more specific information? Like an obituary? Anything would be most helpful. Thank you.

Alas, Googling “john david carson dead” returns as it’s number one result this thread.

Wikipedia doesn’t know about it yet.

I wrote back to Diane (“DeeDee”) who informed me originally with a private message on YouTube; I am waiting to hear back from her. How are you related to Carson? Maybe you could ask someone in your family who is closer to him to try to confirm it. I can’t find an obituary for him. According to his Wikipedia page and IMDB he was the son of Aldrich “Kit” Carson.

The Social Security Death Index doesn’t seem to know about this either.

In fact, if you just google “John David Carson,” this thread is about the 17th hit.

Maybe it’s a hoax of some sort. I hope it is; but I don’t know why someone would lie about something like this. The woman claimed to be named Diane Carson and said “I am his wife. John David Carson passed away at 8:22 pm. October 27th 2009, with me by his side.”

She has a youtube account - it can be seen here.

ETA: here is her myspace page.

I’m inclined to think that this is real, unfortunately.

Another clue:

I think Alana is Diana’s daughter.

this person (who seems to be a friend of the Diane on MySpace) posted about his death on 10/28, FWIW.

I knew John David and his family almost 30 years ago. To say I was in love would be an understatement. This is so devastating and even moreso to find out this way. A great guy and gentleman. Only wish you had let us know how sick you were, Johnny. We would have been there for you.

I don’t think he’d show up in a search only a week after he died - it’d likely take a couple of months. And not all deaths show up there anyway. If he wasn’t receiving Social Security, and no one makes a claim for his Social Security benefits after his death, his death won’t be listed.

Update - I tried to edit Wikipedia’s entry for Carson to state that he had died; my revision was undone, on the grounds that it was not confirmed by a third party source. I guess I will have to wait until this poor man’s obituary is actually published, in order to update his page.

I have been in contact with his wife Diana. She sent me some more information about Carson and his life; he was part Irish and part Cherokee; he was a practicing Christian Scientist and he studied the works of Mary Baker Eddy; he was very close with George C. Scott, and had actually written a screenplay that Scott was going to appear in. When Scott died, the plans were canceled. The screenplay was going to be semi-autobiographical, about a young actor in Las Vegas who becomes romantically involved with a married woman. Scott was to play the husband. (It sounds like it would have been a pretty good movie, if it was made.)

This page is also the only one that comes up with any mention of a wife or significant other named Diane or a daughter named Alana.

I’ve frequently used the obituary search function at as one way to follow up on patients in a long-term health-tracking study of people who have AIDS. (When they don’t show up for visits and you can’t contact anyone in their lives, sometimes you have to see if they’ve died.) It tracks 750 newspapers in the US and Canada. I just did a 6-month search for “John Carson” and the only match was a man born in 1929.

Wasn’t there some sort of legal bickering from Johnny Carson asking John David Carson to change his name a while back?

I think this is legit. It’s not in the copy of the SSDI, but if you use this link, and plug in the name “John Carson”, it does come up.

Thank you Earl Snake-Hips Tuker… if you use this link, you will find this is legit. Diana Carson

Lizzie doesn’t know me as Diana, but she knows me by DeDe. She has since contacted me through YouTube. Thank You Argent Towers.

Alana is my daughter from a previous marriage and John has been her step-father since March of 2000.