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John J. McMahon, Founding President of Carson Productions, Dies at 89

John J. McMahon, the former president of Carson Productions Group and Wilshire Court Productions, died Monday at his Brentwood, Calif. home after a battle with advanced prostate cancer. He was 89.

A longtime network executive, McMahon served as senior V.P. of programming and talent for NBC where he’s credited for his involvement in shows including “The Rockford Files,” “CHiPs,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “Chico and the Man,” “Police Woman,” “Sanford and Son” and “Facts of Life.”

His friend Johnny Carson hired him as president of Carson Productions in 1980, where he oversaw “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” “John and Yoko: A Love Story” and the Academy Award nominated film “The Big Chill.”

Born in Chicago in 1930, McMahon attended the U. of Wisconsin for a year before being drafted into the US Armed Services during the Korean War, for which he earned two Bronze Stars. After finishing his term of service, he completed his education at Northwestern U.

Before working for NBC, McMahon spent 10 years at ABC where he met his wife Barbara Jean Dolio. Once known for his daily morning TV editorials, the couple moved to Los Angeles after McMahon’s promotion to V.P. and general manager of KABC-TV in 1968.

He founded the LAPD Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to caring for the families of police officers who have been severely injured or killed in the line of duty in 1969. After 9/11, he was instrumental in sending LAPD officers and counselors to the NYPD, forming a bond between the two departments which still exists today.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Barbara McMahon, daughters Katy McMahon Glass and Megan McMahon Pond, son Johnny and seven grandchildren.

In 1989, he formed Wilshire Court Productions, which produced more than 100 made-for-television movies for the USA Network and various other networks until 2002.

Services will be held Thursday, Nov. 7 at 11 a.m. at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 10750 Ohio Ave., Los Angeles.

Donations may be made to the Los Angeles Police Memorial Foundation.

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